June 20, 2007 / 11:08 AM / 11 years ago

GE sees rapid Mid East growth, eyes Islamic finance

LONDON (Reuters) - General Electric Co (GE.N) expects rapid growth in the Middle East in the coming years, thanks to soaring sales of aircraft engines and power generation equipment and a possible entry into the Islamic finance business, a senior executive said on Wednesday.

GE International’s chief executive, Ferdinando Beccalli-Falco, said he expected sales to have grown 250 percent by 2010 to $10 billion in the Arab Middle East.

“The Middle East is going to be, in the next three to five years, the fastest growing area in the world (for GE),” he told reporters on the sidelines of the FT Global Energy Leaders summit in London.

High oil prices are flooding the Gulf area with cash which is being channeled into new infrastructure projects, providing strong demand for GE’s equipment businesses.

However, GE also provides financial services and Beccalli-Falco said the company was expanding this business in the Middle East.

    The U.S. conglomerate recently agreed a car leasing deal in Dubai and has held talks with potential partners about entering the Islamic finance business, Beccalli-Falco said, adding GE would not enter the market without a partner.

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