December 28, 2017

GE boosts ownership stake in Swedish 3-D printing firm

Arcam prints metal parts for aerospace and orthopedic sectors.

By DC Velocity Staff

Industrial and IT giant General Electric Co. said it has increased its ownership stake in Arcam AB, a Swedish firm that specializes in the three-dimensional (3-D) printing of metal parts.

Boston-based GE will increase its ownership of Mölndal, Sweden-based Arcam AB to approximately 95 percent from 77 percent, following a deal to purchase Arcam shares from Elliott Management and Polygon Investment Group, GE said yesterday.

GE did not disclose financial terms of the transaction, saying only that it was to close tomorrow. GE said it plans to buy all remaining outstanding shares in the company, delist its stock from the Nasdaq Stockholm exchange, and fold the company into its GE Additive division.

GE first took a stake in Arcam in November 2016. At the time, GE said it would invest in Arcam's products and technology, including electron-beam melting machines for metal-based "additive manufacturing"—another term for 3-D printing—serving customers in the aerospace and orthopedic industries.

Disclosure of the Arcam stake came a month after GE paid $599 million for a 75-percent stake in the German 3-D printing company Concept Laser GmbH.

GE expanded its exposure in the supply chain management category throughout 2017 as part of an effort to become a digital technology provider. Earlier this year, the company launched a venture with the Swiss industrial firm Oerlikon to accelerate the industrialization of additive manufacturing, and announced it would throw the weight of its GE Capital financing division behind the effort by creating a collaboration between the unit and GE Additive.

GE has said it believes that the 3-D printing of parts can save money over the traditional storage and transportation of spare parts by allowing companies to email digital design specifications to a location close to the user instead of shipping a physical part from a warehouse. GE said that additive components are typically lighter and more durable than traditionally made casted or forged parts because they can be made as one piece, requiring fewer welds, joints, and assembly steps.

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