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Market News

 October 08, 2007
GE Restructuring Operations to Phase Out Low-Efficiency Incandescents

 Louisville, USA, -- GE Consumer & Industrial will lay off 1,400 workers and close seven incandescent light bulb plants in response to demand from consumers seeking more energy-efficient lighting.

THE U.S. CONSUMES A MILLION DOLLARS WORTH OF ENERGY EVERY MINUTE. HERE'S A BRIGHT IDEA - REPLACING JUST ONE INCANDESCENT LIGHTBULB WITH A COMPACT FLUORESCENT LAMP WOULD SAVE THIS 500-POUND PILE OF COAL & OVER 1/2 TONNE OF CO2 EMISSIONS.
(Source National Geographic)

The company will focus more of its resources on developing and producing compact fluorescent lighting (CFL) and LED products at a time when incandescents have fallen out of favor with consumers, businesses and even governments. China and Australia, for example, have signaled their intent to phase out incandescents.

Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency cast the spotlight on CFLs during its Change-A-Light campaign with several companies joining to encourage consumers to switch to CFLs. Wal-Mart also announced last week it had reached its goal of selling 1 million CFLs.

For GE, the announcement is the latest twist in a restructuring trend that had already impacted 3,000 jobs from facility closures, work transfers, employee reductions and sales of operations at sites in the U.S., Europe, China, Indonesia, Latin America and India.

Now, all lighting in operations in Rio de Janeiro will cease, impacting 900 jobs. The U.S. and Mexico will see about 505 jobs effected as some are transferred among other sites.

"We are proposing these actions in order to continue our leadership in an industry that is in the midst of significant change," said Jim Campbell, GE Consumer and Industrial's president and CEO. "Global market demand for the most common household lighting product - the incandescent bulb - has dramatically declined over the past five years, and is accelerating due to new efficiency standards and technology advancements...In many cases, we can now purchase the components we need at a more competitive cost than we can make them. It doesn't make sense for us to continue with an inefficient model."

GE is investing in new lighting technologies, such as LEDs, organic LEDs and high-efficiency incandescents, he said.

"In the last four years alone we have invested more than $200 million on energy-efficient lighting," Campbell said.