Waukesha brand part of $3.25 billion sale of GE Distributed Power

Engineering work remained at Waukesha facility after manufacturing move in 2015

GE Power engine in Waukesha
President Barack Obama spoke at GE Waukesha Gas Engines in 2014. The company is now shifting manufacturing operations to Canada.

General Electric Co. is selling its distributed power business, including the Waukesha engine brand it acquired in 2011, for $3.25 billion to the private equity firm Advent International.

The companies expect to complete the deal, announced Monday, by the fourth quarter of 2018, pending regulatory approvals. It includes the Jenbracher and Waukesha engine brands along with manufacturing sites in Austria, Canada and the United States.

Distributed Power, a GE Power business unit, had $1.32 billion in sales last year.

“In Advent, we have a partner that shares our team’s passion for delivering outstanding customer outcomes,” said Carols Lange, GE Distributed Power president. “Our Jenbacher and Waukesha brands and engines are recognized all over the world for their performance and reliability, and Advent’s deep sector expertise will allow us to further strengthen our capabilities for the benefit of our worldwide customers.”

GE acquired the Waukesha engine brand in 2010 as part of its $3 billion acquisition of Texas-based Dresser Inc. Dresser bought Waukesha Motor Co. in 1974.

President Barack Obama highlighted the Waukesha plant, located just southwest of downtown along West St. Paul Avenue, in 2014 as an example of American manufacturing, But in 2015, GE announced it would it would stop production of gas engines at the facility. The company said it would move the work to a new facility in Canada, laying off 350 people in the process.

GE did keep 200 employees in engineering and other non-manufacturing positions in Waukesha and said in 2016 the plant would become a “center of excellence for non-manufacturing positions,” including engineering and supply chain work.

GE and Advent representatives did not immediately respond to questions regarding the role of the Waukesha facility in the deal or future plans for it after the transaction closes.

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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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