GE Lighting name to disappear in Europe

THE ONCE-FAMILIAR brand of GE Lighting is set to disappear in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Parent company General Electric has sold the lighting business in those regions to former executive Joerg Bauer, who has run the company’s operations in Hungary. He’s allowed to use the GE Lighting brand for a limited time – believed to be five years – after which he will revert to Tungsram, the name of the original state-owned incandescent lamp manufacturer based in Budapest.

The sale marks the end of an era for the once-thriving GE Lighting in Europe. It was, along with Philips and Osram, one of the revered ‘Big Three’ lighting brands globally.

The GE Lighting logo and branding will be replaced by the 'Tungsram' brand after a period of time, believed to be five years

But the introduction of LEDs has challenged fundamentally the business models of the Big Three, and has led to sell offs. Both Philips Lighting and Osram have already separated and sold their mainstream lighting operations.

Included in the sale is ‘all of GE Lighting's business in Europe, the Middle East and Africs, including commercial operations, manufacturing plants, office sites, employees and equipment throughout the region’ as well as the car lights business. The sale also includes the use of the GE Lighting brand during a transition period, after which the new organisation would develop, manufacture and sell products under the iconic Tungsram brand,’ GE Lighting CEO Bill Lacey said in a memo. GE acquired Tungsram in 1989.

GE Lighting is also hoping to sell its North American consumer lighting business, an operation that can trace its origins back to founder and inventor Thomas Edison.

GE's other lighting-related business, Current powered by GE, is also up for sale. While it is being marketed as a separate businesses to GE Lighting, several strategic options will be explored for GE’s Current and Lighting businesses based on potential buyers. A buyer may want the entire segment, including both Current and Lighting, or it could mean different buyers for each business.

Contracts held by Current – such as a deal to supply UK supermarket Sainsbury’s – are not impacted at this stage. Other contracts held by GE Lighting in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Turkey will transfer to the new company once the deal is closed.

 

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