GE CFO sees alternatives to SLM 3D printing purchase

By Features Reuters

General Electric Co can build its 3D printing capability without buying Germany's SLM Solutions and does not need to increase its takeover offer in light of opposition from a major shareholder, GE Chief Financial Officer Jeff Bornstein said on Friday.

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GE refused on Friday to extend or change its 38-euro-a-share offer for SLM after activist investor Elliott Advisors, which owns 20 percent of SLM, said it would reject GE's offer. The offer expires on Monday.

"We have options and alternatives," Bornstein told Reuters in an interview. "We don't have to do SLM. We'd like to. We like the company, we like the technology, we like the people."

He noted that SLM's share price had fallen below GE's 38 euro offer price, which values the company at 683 million euros ($742.49 million). SLM ended trading Friday down 8 percent at 36.33 euros.

Shareholders representing 31.5 percent have already pledged to back GE's bid. The offer requires a minimum 75 percent acceptance to succeed, so Elliott's reported holdings alone would not be enough to block the deal.

GE also has alternatives to purchasing Sweden's Arcam AB . GE bid has bid 285 crowns per share, or 5.86 billion crowns ($685 million) for Arcam.

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Both companies make industrial-scale 3D printers used in aerospace, healthcare and other industries and which both count GE as their biggest customer.

GE is using 3D printing to make fuel nozzles for new CFM LEAP aircraft engines that power the latest Airbus and Boeing single-aisle airplanes. CFM is a joint venture of GE and Safran SA of France.

GE said on Friday that the LEAP engine, now flying on a handful of Airbus A320neo jets, was performing well, with 100 percent reliability in allowing aircraft to depart on time.

Bornstein declined to say whether the LEAP engine performance had led to more orders but noted the recent decision by Qatar Airways to sign a letter of intent to buy up to 60 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, which might be used to supplant orders for A320neos equipped with Pratt & Whitney engines .

($1 = 0.9199 euros)

(Reporting by Alwyn Scott; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)