GE strengthens Saudi presence with new initiatives

Updated 06 October 2012
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GE strengthens Saudi presence with new initiatives

US giant General Electric broke new ground yesterday when it launched the second phase of its high-tech GE Manufacturing Technology Center (GEMTEC) at Dammam's Second Industrial City.
The company also inaugurated a new and advanced pressure control facility, and signed a cooperation agreement with Wa'ed, Saudi Aramco's new entity focused on financing and incubating new businesses in the Kingdom.
The tie-up with Wa'ed will help identify and nurture local small and medium enterprises and develop them into competitive suppliers of the company in the energy sector as part of GE's focus on developing a Saudi-based supply chain for the manufacturing sector.
As part of GE's SR 3.75 billion investment in Saudi Arabia, the localization initiative will further strengthen the manufacturing sector of the Kingdom. The agreement to promote SMEs will also lead to indirect job creation for Saudis by driving robust demand for local suppliers and services. Together, the new investment in the energy sector of the Kingdom by GE complements the Saudi Vision 2020 to promote local manufacturing, economic diversification, exports and job creation.
Currently over 170,000 sq ft in area, the second phase will mark the expansion of the technology center by more than double to about 390,000 sq ft. The facility has recently completed its first year of operations, and serves more than 50 customers in the Kingdom, the rest of the Middle East, Africa and Europe. In the first year, GEMTEC extended service support to drive the efficiencies of over 450 gas turbines that are central to power generation.
After the expansion, GE's most advanced technology center of its kind will feature five key components - a modern manufacturing facility of high end equipment for the power, water and oil and gas industries; a service and repair center for advanced turbine equipment; a training center that offers the latest technology and managerial courses for college students, field engineers and other power industry professionals throughout the region; a repair development center; and a state-of-the-art high-speed balance facility.
Along with the introduction of new components, the office space of the center will also be expanded. Both the office space expansion and construction of the high-speed balance facility will be completed next year, while the rest of the components will be completed in phases in 2014.
GE Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Immelt said: "The expansion of GEMTEC will contribute significantly to enhancing manufacturing and localization in the power sector of Saudi Arabia. Through the second phase investment and the opening of the pressure control facility, we are delivering on our promise to strengthen our investment and partnership commitment to our valued customers in the Kingdom."
According to him, it will also create jobs for young Saudi professionals and promote the Kingdom's human capital through advanced training on cutting edge technologies. "We are delighted to join hands with our long-term partner Saudi Aramco to further develop a Saudi-based supply chain in the manufacturing sector that will promote entrepreneurship among young Saudis," said Immelt.
Steve Bolze, president and CEO, GE Power and Water, said one of the significant advantages offered by GE's new investment is its ability to offer localized design, engineering and repair services for all sectors of the energy industry through active collaboration with its partners.
"This is of critical value in driving the overall operational efficiencies, and now our partners can benefit from significant time-savings with local cutting-edge repair and technical expertise. Additionally, by investing in talent, GE will play a key role in developing a pool of skilled technologists who can partner in meeting the energy sector growth requirements of the Kingdom," he said.
A top official of Saudi Electric Company, who was speaking on behalf of Ali Saleh Al-Barrak, president and CEO, said: "We have been working closely with GE for nearly four decades and the expansion of the Manufacturing Technology Center will enable us to experience high-quality integrated services of gas turbines locally. This will support SEC in meeting the growing electricity need in the Kingdom while furthering Saudi Arabia's ambitions of becoming a technology hub for the energy sector."
Complementing GE's goal of promoting localized job creation and human capital development, GEMTEC currently employs more than 350 technologists and is training more than 100 others under the Technical & Vocational Training Corporation (TVTC) agreement.
The participants are being trained in key areas of maintenance and repair of gas turbines, electrical motors and generators that are critical to the efficient generation of electricity in the Kingdom. Over 50 percent Saudization has been achieved to date at the center.


Online fashion retailer Boohoo’s sales almost double

Updated 25 April 2018
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Online fashion retailer Boohoo’s sales almost double

LONDON: British online fast-fashion retailer Boohoo beat forecasts with a 40 percent jump in annual profit and an almost doubling of revenue as its mainly younger customers snapped up its budget-friendly designs.
The company, which imitates the latest fashions and sells them at “pocket money” prices to mainly twentysomethings, said it had made a strong start to this year, sending its shares as much as 18 percent higher.
Its robust performance and that of bigger online peer ASOS highlights how the Internet is reshaping the British retail landscape and the clothing sector in particular.
“Against a backdrop of difficult trading in the UK clothing sector, the group continued to perform well, gaining market share in the expanding online sector,” said joint chief executives Mahmud Kamani and Carol Kane.
Founded in Manchester, northern England, in 2006, Boohoo has expanded rapidly, purchasing the PrettyLittleThing and Nasty Gal brands at the beginning of last year.
The pure Internet players are bucking a challenging backdrop for UK consumers, outflanking and taking market share from traditional rivals burdened with big store estates.
Last week the 240-year old Debenhams department store chain reported a 52 percent slump in first-half profit and warned on the full-year outlook for the second time in four months.
In stark contrast, Boohoo raised sales and profit guidance four times in 2017-18.
The company made a pretax profit of £43.3 million pounds in the year to February 28, up from £30.9 million a year earlier and topping the £39.4 million expected by analysts, according to Reuters data. Revenue soared 97 percent to £579.8 million, ahead of company guidance.
The stock has come off from 273 pence in June last year, on concerns profit growth will be held back by a step-up in investment.
However, Boohoo said on Wednesday it could invest more in systems, technology, warehouses, distribution and marketing, while still delivering substantial sales and profit growth.
Capital expenditure in 2018-19 would be £50 million- £60 million. Revenue growth was forecast at 35-40 percent, with a profit (EBITDA) margin of 9-10 percent.
Looking beyond 2018-19 it forecast sales growth of “at least” 25 percent, whilst maintaining a 10 percent EBITDA margin.
“Critically, fears of a ‘margin reset’ have not been realized,” said analysts at Peel Hunt, reiterating their “buy” recommendation.
“Changes to distribution plans means the next move is likely to be overseas,” they said.