General Electric (NYSE:GE) Power and FieldCore, the company’s independent field services execution arm, have successfully restarted Metahara Sugar Factory in Ethiopia, seven months after the plant was severely damaged by a major thunderstorm. The outage execution service of two steam turbines, which lasted 20 days, succeeded in bringing back the 5000-person workforce and solving sugar scarcity for more than the 100 million people in Ethiopia.
Metahara’s Deputy Factory Manager Mr. Fahmi Dawud said the team providing solutions and getting the factory back up and running in a record 20 days was a miracle. “We had lost all hope that these extremely aged units, manufactured by Compagnie Electro Mecanique, in the 1950s, would ever come online again due to the damage. Hotels and supermarkets had run out of sugar, and it was a critical situation. We are excited to hear the machines humming again.”
“GE Power and FieldCore are proud to have helped bring sugar production back to Ethiopia,” said Elisee Sezan, General Manager, GE’s Power Services business for Sub-Saharan Africa. “We all experienced a great sense of accomplishment when the turbines were revived at startup and we heard them working again. This project reflects the passion, the wealth of power generation experience and the world-class services capabilities that keep GE and FieldCore competitive and consistent around the globe for our customers,” he added.
The Metahara Sugar Factory is in the Oromiya Regional State, about 200 kilometers from Addis Ababa and it produces about 136,000 tons of sugar annually, representing an estimated 20% of Ethiopia’s sugar consumption.
Daniel Hailu, Executive Country Business Leader for GE’s Global Growth Organization, explained that sugar is a key commodity for Ethiopia, both for local consumption and export. He said: “It’s extremely important for the country’s foreign currency revenue stream. We are honored to participate in such a crucial project for the country.”
GE works with the government, state-owned enterprises as well as private sector corporate customers in Ethiopia to support economic growth through infrastructure development in the power, healthcare and transport/aviation sectors. In 2016, GE opened a 60-capacity permanent office in Addis Ababa, and now has over 40 employees – 90% of which are Ethiopians.
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