On Tuesday, digital industrial company General Electric (GE – Analyst Report) announced plans to purchase two European 3D printing companies, Swedish-based Arcam AB and Germany’s SLM Solutions Group AG, for $1.4 billion in order to accelerate its efforts in the growing industry.
Both SLM and Arcam will report to David Joyce, the President and CEO of GE Aviation, the corporation’s largest division. With this acquisition, GE will now have spent $2.9 billion on 3D printing, or additive manufacturing, since 2010, leading to a total of 346 patents.
“Additive manufacturing is a key part of GE’s evolution into a digital industrial company. We are creating a more productive world with our innovative world-class machines, materials and software. We are poised to not only benefit from this movement as a customer, but spearhead it as a leading supplier,” said Jeff Immelt, Chairman and CEO of GE.
The company expects its 3D printing business to grow by $1 billion by 2020, as well as a total cost of $3 to $5 billion of product across GE over the next 10 years.
Companies in the 3D printing industry focus on building products using computer-aided design (CAD) software. These virtual designs lead to a process that places down successive layers of material until an object is created. It builds an entire product at once instead of separately manufacturing different parts, leading to more customization and less waste.
Unlike its standard 3D printing competitors, GE is looking to utilize additive manufacturing in order to innovatively build jets, aircraft engines, and other aviation components. Its digital business is booming, and has already employed 3D printing in some capacity. Back in July, GE Aviation debuted its first additive jet engine component, a complex fuel nozzle interior, with the LEAP jet engine.
GE’s acquisition of Arcam and SLM are structured as public tender offers for all of the outstanding shares of stock of each company.
3D printing companies 3D Systems Corp. (DDD – Analyst Report) , Voxeljet Ag-Adr (VJET – Snapshot Report) , and Stratasys Ltd. (SSYS – Analyst Report) have all seen a boost today as GE’s latest deals have spurred interest in the stocks.
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