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GE Europe chief eyes investment in Germany

By CNN Wire staff
updated 3:17 PM EDT, Thu March 14, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • GE Europe employs 84,000 people across the continent and provides a range of products
  • Germany is the "economic locomotive" of Europe, says GE Europe boss
  • EU's strength lies in economy and population size of 500 million people, says Beccalli-Falco

(CNN) -- U.S. conglomerate General Electric is set to increase its investment in Germany, even as the eurozone remains hobbled by a nearly three-year old economic crisis, the company's regional boss told CNN.

Nani Beccalli-Falco, chief executive officer of General Electric Europe, said Germany was the "economic locomotive" of Europe. The company wanted to strengthen its position in the continent's largest economy, he added.

Read more: Airbus CEO: We will learn from past mistakes

Speaking at the Ambrosetti Forum on the banks of Lake Como, Beccalli-Falco told CNN that General Electric -- a multinational founded in 1892 -- is "making a lot of investments" in Germany.

He added: "Our position was not satisfactory in Germany so we decided to make a statement to strengthen our resources there."

Read more: VINCI boss to Europe: Build and growth will come

Although many countries in the European Union are feeling the squeeze of the region's debt crisis, Beccalli-Falco sees cause for optimism in some parts of Europe.

"This is not a European crisis but a crisis of some member states," he told CNN. "The problems come when you are talking about southern Europe, about Portugal and Spain, Italy and Greece."

Read more: Jelly bean makers defy wobbly Irish economy

The GE Europe boss sees an "incredible boom" for the UK and Nordic countries as a result of oil exploration and discoveries in the North Sea, while many parts of eastern and central Europe are profiting from infrastructure investment from the 27-nation European Union.

He told CNN that Europe's strength lies in the size of its economy and population of 500 million people, according to Eurostat.

However, Beccalli-Falco said question marks still remain over the future of France -- Europe's second-largest economy.

He said: "In my mind France is now on the verge of either taking the road to greatness to become like Germany or taking a road which is a little more challenging."

General Electric Europe employs 84,000 people across the continent and provides products for a number of different industries from aircraft engines to power generation, household appliances to consumer finance.

And Beccalli-Falco said GE is committed to continued investment in Europe. "We do invest in Europe and our chairman is enforcing that concept."

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