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GE Opens Berlin Research Hub to Tap Students in Siemens Backyard

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Sept. 18 (Bloomberg) -- General Electric Co. said it will open a research center in Berlin to access university graduates and be closer to political decision makers in the backyard of competitor Siemens AG.

GE expects sales in Germany to grow by a “double-digit” percentage this year, according to Ferdinando Beccalli-Falco, chief executive officer for GE’s European operation. While GE was unable to close acquisitions in the country as planned, it is still on the lookout for targets, he said at a press conference in Garching near Munich today.

GE last year said it will pump 80 million euros ($104 million) into expanding its presence in Europe’s largest economy, including the Garching research center. It’s launched an advertising campaign with the slogan “We are the GE in Germany.” Siemens, which competes against GE in energy, health care, and industrial businesses, is headquartered in Munich and Berlin, with Berlin featuring the company’s single largest manufacturing site.

GE took market share in medical equipment from rivals including Siemens, Royal Philips Electronics NV, and Toshiba Corp., the company’s healthcare head Volker Wetekam said today. GE has about 1,800 employees in its German health care business, he said.

GE has hired 500 employees in Germany since last year, the company today said. GE has about 7,000 employees in the country.

To contact the reporter on this story: Richard Weiss in Frankfurt at rweiss5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Benedikt Kammel at bkammel@bloomberg.net

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