General Electric and Water
General Electric's energy investing arm is taking a majority stake in French water treatment company Idex Aquaservices. This is its second equity investment in the water sector, and first outside the US, as part of a plan to invest $1 billion by the end of 2009. GE Energy Financial Services (EFS) is paying an undisclosed sum for 95% of the firm, which purifies water for the food, beverage and cosmetics industries.
Idex Aquaservices operates at approximately 100 sites, predominantly located around Paris and in Brittany, where it extracts and treats water. Parent Idex Groupe retains a maintenance contract for these sites, and the 30 employees of Idex Aquaservices will stay within the Idex group.
GE EFS holds more than $13 billion in energy investments around the world, including $1.5 billion in renewable energy. Last year, it announced a plan to diversify into water treatment and made its first equity investment in the sector, putting some $18 million into a wastewater reclamation plant in the US state of Georgia.