General Electric Co. Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt has disclosed to shareholders that the U.S. conglomerate's revenue in Eastern Europe, Russia, and Iraq should more than quadruple to U.S. $5 billion in 2005 as it modernizes railroads, floats consumer loans, and rebuilds power grids.
Mr. Immelt said revenue from those three regions should grow to $5 billion in 2005 from $1.2 billion in 2003. Mr. Immelt's comments were in a letter to shareholders in GE's annual report.
GE recently signed a $700 million agreement to modernize the rail system in Russia. Its consumer and commercial finance profits in Eastern Europe are growing 30 percent annually, Mr. Immelt said.
Meanwhile, GE received $450 million of orders in Iraq in 2003 and could receive $3 billion during the next few years. More than one-half of Iraq's power grid is GE technology, Mr. Immelt said.
"Globalization is controversial today. In fact, it is viewed in some quarters as un-American," Mr. Immelt said. "I am proud to be an American CEO of an American company. But growing GE requires us to view the world as our market."
Mr. Immelt summarized 2003 as a year of reorganization in which the Fairfield, CN, U.S.-based company committed more than $30 billion in portfolio moves that emphasized healthcare and media while shedding insurance assets.
GE businesses make a diverse mix of products ranging from light bulbs and jet engines to plastics and refrigerators. (Reuters)
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