[ NEW YORK] US conglomerate General Electric announced Tuesday it intends to buy two European companies that specialize in 3D printing - Arcam AB of Sweden and SLM Solutions Group of Germany - for US$1.4 billion.
The two companies would be put under GE's aviation division, it said in a statement.
Established in 1997 and based at Molndal in southern Sweden, Arcam AB uses electron beams in 3D printing of metallic parts for the aeronautics and health care industries.
It employs about 285 people, and had revenues of US$68 million in 2015.
SLM Solutions Group, based in Lubeck, Germany, makes laser equipment for use in 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, for the aeronautics, energy, health care and automobile industries. It had revenues of US$74 million in 2015.
"Additive manufacturing is a key part of GE's evolution into a digital industrial company," GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt said. "We are poised to not only benefit from this movement as a customer, but spearhead it as a leading supplier." The conglomerate expects to reap up to US$1 billion a year from 3D printing by 2020 and anticipates economies in production costs on the order of US$3-5 billion over the next ten years.
GE plans to keep the headquarters of the two companies in Europe, using it as a base for developing a global 3D printing business.