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Emerson buys GE’s PLC business to broaden its portfolio

03 October, 2018

Emerson is buying General Electric’s Intelligent Platforms division, saying that GE’s PLC (programmable logic controller) technologies will enable it to offer its customers broader control and management of their operations. The terms of the deal have not been disclosed. It comes at a time when GE has been selling businesses to focus on its jet engine, power plant and renewable energy activities.

Intelligent Platforms, based in Charlottesville, Virginia, achieved sales worth sales $210m in 2017 and employs about 650 people worldwide. The business has a 25-year track record of producing industrial automation technologies for machine control, industrial computing, I/O and networking devices, and project and integration services. The majority (78%) of its sales are for machine control applications, with 15% targeting projects and integration, and 7% being edge software and related technologies such as data acquisition.

Emerson says that the acquisition will fill “critical gaps” in its machine and motion control portfolio and strengthen its position in the $200bn automation market. It adds that the deal will expand opportunities in machine control and discrete applications across process and hybrid markets, such as metals and mining, life sciences, food and beverage, and packaging.

By interfacing Intelligent Platforms’ PLC technology with Emerson’s distributed control systems, users will be able to connect “islands of automation” in their plants to enhance performance, safety and reliability.

Intelligent Platforms recently developed a new family of cloud-connected controllers and devices which Emerson says will complement its focus on digital transformation and the Industrial Internet of Things through its Plantweb digital ecosystem.

Earlier this year, GE launched a new generation of controls designed to connect to the industrial Internet

“Adding GE’s Intelligent Platforms business makes Emerson an even stronger player in the automation space and expands our capabilities to serve the needs across process, hybrid and discrete markets,” says Emerson’s chairman and CEO, David Farr. “This is another important investment in our global portfolio of automation technologies, offering discrete and machine control capabilities that complement our process control expertise to provide better solutions to our customers.”

Russell Stokes, president and CEO of GE Power, adds that the deal “enables Intelligent Platforms to be best positioned to pursue its growth strategy, while accelerating our reinvestment in GE Power to develop the energy technologies of the future and provide the world with reliable, affordable electricity.”

The acquisition is expected to close in the first half of 2019, subject to regulatory approvals, consultation with employee representatives, and other closing conditions.

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