GE and Saudi Aramco said Monday that they will jointly construct a new energy focused manufacturing facility as part of a broader investment plan.

According to the Wall Street Journal, GE will collaborate with Saudi Aramco and another investor to construct a $400 million manufacturing facility focused on the energy and marine sectors.

The plan is expected to double GE’s Saudi Arabian workforce to about 4,000 by 2020.

Saudi Arabian Industrial Investments Company (SAIIC) and GE signed a memorandum of understanding on Monday to co-invest in strategic sectors that will include the oil and gas sector.

The SAIIC is a joint venture of Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund, Saudi Aramco and Saudi Arabia Basic Industries Corporation.

The memorandum of understanding calls for $1 billion in joint investments to be rolled out by 2017 in addition to an aggregate potential investment of $2 billion to drive projects in water, energy, aviation, digital and other sectors from 2017.

SAIIC and GE said they will also co-develop wide-ranging digital industrial applications and solutions to help foster digital innovation in Saudi Arabia.

The software solutions will include data visualization, big data management and data analytics, among others.

The memorandum is part of a broader reform plan being instituted that is designed to help reduce the kingdom’s dependency on oil and gas.

“We are honored to be among the first companies to partner with SAIIC in meeting its strategic development goals of Saudi Vision 2030. We will work together to build manufacturing capabilities of GE in Saudi Arabia and develop more ‘Made in Saudi’ high-tech technology, creating a robust local supply chain,” GE chairman and CEO Jeffrey Immelt said.
Saudi Aramco has been studying a potential IPO since January.
Once the various options have been studied, the findings will be presented to the company’s board of directors who will then make recommendations to the Saudi Aramco Supreme Council.
Company officials have said that the kingdom’s government would retain a majority stake in the company.

Fitch Ratings downgraded Saudi Arabia’s  long-term foreign and local currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) to AA- from AA.

The agency’s outlook on the country’s long-term IDRs remained negative.

Fitch said its downward revision of oil price assumptions for 2016 and 2017 and widening central government deficit prompted the ratings cut.

Fitch is currently assuming an average Brent crude oil price of $35 per barrel in 2016 and $45 per barrel in 2017.


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