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GE Europe chief eyes investment in Germany

By CNN Wire staff
updated 3:17 PM EDT, Thu March 14, 2013
  • 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.

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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."

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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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