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GE agrees to sale that includes East Flat Rock plant

Business association leaders expressed cautious optimism that a proposed sale will be OK for the General Electric East Flat Rock plant, a manufacturing stalwart that has provided good jobs with benefits for more than 60 years in Henderson County.


G.E., which put its household and industrial lighting factories on the selling block a year ago, announced three weeks ago that it has signed a proposed agreement to sell the division — called Current, powered by GE — to American Industrial Partners, a New York-based private equity firm that focuses on buying, improving and growing industrial businesses.
The proposed transaction is expected to close in early 2019, subject to financing details and regulatory approvals, the news service BusinessWire reported. The price was not disclosed.
American Industrial Partners, which has acquired $4.2 billion of assets in more than 90 transactions, has been active in private equity investing for nearly 30 years. AIP focuses on middle-market opportunities for industrial businesses serving both domestic and global markets, GE said.
Both the Partnership for Economic Development and the Chamber of Commerce have been monitoring the transaction.
“It’s been in the process for about a year,” said Partnership President Brittany Jones Brady. “We do not see any changes in personnel from the transaction. American has a good portfolio of companies that they have acquired and invested in.” Earlier reports indicated that the parties hoped to finalize the sale in January but the latest Brady had heard was that the closing might come as late as March of April.
“We don’t know yet,” Chamber President Bob Williford said of the transaction’s possible effect on the local plant. “The sale has to jump through all the hoops by the financing and regulation. It looks like it could possibly be a good fit. They’ve still got to finalize it, get all the approvals completed, which is expected.
“American Industrial owns a lot of different industrial companies. They’ve got a lot of experience, which is good,” he said. “We feel good because Current, Powered by GE, they’re profitable, they’re making money so that’s very positive. It’s wait and see. We don’t know exactly what’ll happen as things move forward. It’s something we definitely want to be in the loop on, know what’s happening. It could be positive but we’ll have to wait and see what’s going to happen.”