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MILAN (Reuters) - General Electric said on Sunday it had signed an agreement to invest $600 million in Italy in research and development projects in the oil and gas sector over the next five years.
GE Oil & Gas said the money would be spent on developing a facility to build turbines and compressors in the central region of Tuscany.
The project, dubbed "Galileo", will increase GE Oil & Gas volumes in Italy by 50 percent and boost revenue by $1.7 billion over the five years.
"GE has been operating in Italy for about 100 years and today's operation confirms our strong commitment to invest and grow our business in the country," said GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt.
Immelt was present at a signing ceremony with, among others, Italy's Industry Minister, Federica Guidi.
According to a document seen by Reuters, General Electric will invest $400 million in Galileo while the remaining $200 million will be public funding.
In the statement, GE said another agreement had been signed in previous weeks by aviation unit Avio Aero to invest 200 million euros. That brings the overall investment programme to more than $800 million, it said.
GE said its Oil & Gas division had also signed on Sunday an agreement with Italy's SACE, a state-owned export credit insurance agency.
It said SACE could provide assistance of up to $6 billion over the period 2016-2018 to support its exports to areas such as Latin America, North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
Reporting by Silvia Ognibene and Stephen Jewkes, editing by Louise Heavens