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GE spends US$1.4b on 3-D printer-makers for jet engines

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General Electric Co announced US$1.4 billion in European acquisitions to add 3D printing technology to manufacture parts for jet engines and cars.

[STOCKHOLM] General Electric Co announced US$1.4 billion in European acquisitions to add 3D printing technology to manufacture parts for jet engines and cars.

The US company agreed to buy Sweden's Arcam AB for 5.86 billion kronor (S$ 923.51 million), alongside a separate transaction to acquire SLM Solutions Group AG of Germany, it said in a statement on Tuesday.

GE's aviation division is looking to print more than 100,000 jet-engine parts by 2020. The US company is buying into Arcam's claim that its technology using electron beams to melt metal powder into firm objects is superior to competing laser-based processes.

GE already became Arcam's top customer last year, placing the largest order to date to help produce turbine blades for jet engines.

"We chose these two companies for a reason," said David Joyce, chief executive of GE Aviation. "They each bring two different, complementary additive technology modalities. Over time, we plan to extend the line of additive manufacturing equipment and products."

GE offered 285 kronor per Arcam share, about 53 per cent more than Arcam's closing price of 186 kronor on Monday. Arcam's board is backing the bid.

Its shares had been little changed this year, valuing the company at 3.84 billion kronor. SLM investors are set to receive 38 euros a share in the agreed deal, a 37 per cent premium to its prior close.

Combined the businesses generated US$142 million in 2015 revenue.

Arcam jumped 53 per cent to 285.50 kronor as of 9.25am in Stockholm, while SLM climbed 38 per cent to 38.42 euros in Frankfurt.

BLOOMBERG