GE Sheds Another Unit in $3B Sale to PE Firm

The sale of the Distributed Power business to Advent International is part of GE's three-year plan to divest $20 billion in assets.
Matthew HellerJune 26, 2018

General Electric has made another deal with a private-equity firm, selling part of its embattled power division to Advent International for $3.25 billion.

The sale of the Distributed Power unit, which makes Jenbacher and Waukesha reciprocating gas engines for power generation, is part of GE’s three-year plan to divest about $20 billion in assets as it refashions itself as a digital industrial company.

GE’s power division profit plunged last year as sales of power plants and services fell sharply but according to Reuters, there is growing demand for reciprocating engines from utilities, which pair them with wind and solar generators.

The deal also includes Distributed Power’s manufacturing operations in Austria, Canada, and the U.S. Other bidders reportedly included Cummins and Kohler Co.

“Distributed Power is a terrific asset with highly regarded engines that are the go-to OEM for the efficient generation of electrical power and heat as well as gas compression,” Ranjan Sen, managing partner at Advent, said in a news release. “The business has significant growth potential on a global scale and talented employees all over the world.”

“We plan to invest substantially in critical areas such as the product portfolio, service network and digitization to support Distributed Power in sustainably strengthening its market position,” he added.

Distributed Power posted revenue of $1.3 billion last year and its key customers include the German port city of Kiel, which is using 20 Jenbacher engines to create a 190 megawatt plant, replacing a coal-fired plant opened in 1970.

“Advent’s deep sector expertise will allow us to further strengthen our capabilities for the benefit of our worldwide customers,” Carlos Lange, president of Distributed Power, said.

Advent has made several investments in the industrial, energy, and oil and gas sectors in recent years, including allnex, a maker of resin coatings for the paint and coatings industry, in Germany and Culligan International Group, a provider of water softening and cleaning products and services, in the U.S.

Veritas Capital, another PE firm, agreed in April to purchase the information technology component of GE’s healthcare division for $1.05 billion.