June 5, 2012 / 3:10 PM / 6 years ago

UPDATE 1-GE acquires Brazil medical equipment maker XPRO

* Deal value not disclosed

* XPRO manufactures x-ray machines in Brazil

* First acquisition by GE Healthcare in Latam

SAO PAULO, June 5 (Reuters) - General Electric Co said on Tuesday it acquired Brazilian medical equipment manufacturer XPRO as it seeks to expand its presence in Latin America.

Speaking at a press conference in Sao Paulo, Fernando Bertoni, head of acquisitions for GE Healthcare in Latin America, declined to give the value of the transaction but said it was a “significant amount, strategically speaking.” It was financed with cash generated from operations.

XPRO manufactures x-ray machines used in cardiology, neurology and therapeutic radiology. GE plans to make the machines in Brazil for export to other emerging markets such as China and Saudi Arabia, GE executives said.

“This acquisition demonstrates GE Healthcare’s commitment to Latin America as an independent, growing region,” said Rogerio Patrus, chief executive for GE Healthcare in Latin America. This is the first acquisition by the division in the region, he added.

Patrus pointed to Latin America as the most important region for GE Healthcare outside the United States and Europe, especially given its growth prospects as more developed economies stagnate.

He added the division has averaged 20 percent growth over the past three years and aims to maintain that pace in coming years.

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