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Little change is forecast as GE completes sale of East Flat Rock plant

The new owner of Current by GE will continue to use the Current brand under a licensing agreement. The new owner of Current by GE will continue to use the Current brand under a licensing agreement.

A stalwart of Henderson County's manufacturing economy for more than 60 years, the General Electric plant in East Flat Rock now has a new owner. Local business organization leaders say they've been told things will remain the same. Even the name won't change, at least for now.

 

GE announced on April 2 that it had completed the sale of its Current lighting plants to American Industrial Partners, a New York-based private equity firm focused on buying, improving and growing industrial businesses. March 29 was the last day the plant operated under GE ownership. Under a long-term licensing agreement, the plants will still be called Current and will continue using the Current Powered GE brand on its products and services moving forward.

"They have made that official," Brittany Brady, president of the Henderson County Partnership for Economic Development, said Wednesday. "I don't think we'll see many changes. I think the head count will remain the same right now. The first payroll (under new ownership) is this week." Under an agreement with the GE, the plant will continue to operate as Current. "It sounds like for the time being they will keep that name."

Brady and Bob Williford, the president of the Henderson County Chamber of Commerce, both said plant officials had assured the work force and even some of the management was likely to remain unchanged.

"No reduction in head count of personnel changes," Brady said "It sounds like things have been pretty seamless. They don't anticipate much of a shift, which is as good as it gets. It looks like it's a newly owned entity but not many changes beyond that."

Terry Collins, the East Flat Rock plant's director of human resources and a member of the Henderson County chamber board, has told chamber officials that few changes are expected.

"They'll keep operating like normal," Williford said. "We'll just have to wait and see what happens. I don't even know how much leadership change there's going to be. They're still making fixtures and still making money."

The new owner is a private equity firm that makes control investments in industrial businesses serving domestic and global markets. The firm has deep roots in the industrial economy and has been active in private equity investing since 1989. To date, AIP has completed over 95 transactions and currently has more than $7 billion of assets under management on behalf of leading pension, endowment and financial institutions. Current’s portfolio spans LED and traditional lighting solutions, along with a wide variety of intelligent controls, sensors and software.

“Three and a half years ago, we formed Current as a new kind of startup within the walls of GE, and today we are thrilled to celebrate the successful conclusion of that journey as we prepare to embrace our next,” said Maryrose Sylvester, president & CEO of Current, said in a news release. “American Industrial Partners is an excellent fit for our people and technology. Current has an important role to play in this emerging industry, and we look forward to working with our customers to continue building the future of digital lighting innovation.”


The consumer lighting business of GE Lighting was not included in the transaction.