NEW YORK - U.S. industrial conglomerate General Electric Co will invest $10 billion in Argentina over the next decade, Vice Chairman John Rice said on Monday, the latest foreign company to announce new plans since President Mauricio Macri took office.
GE <GE.N> has already invested $1.2 billion alongside local partners and customers in the past four months, the company said in a statement, including $900 million to build thermal power plants and a $280 million loan to state-run airline Aerolineas Argentinas [AERA.UL] to finance the purchase of seven airplanes.
Nearly 2,000 executives from dozens of countries attended a government-sponsored forum in Buenos Aires last week aimed at building confidence businesses need to invest in Argentina.
At the forum, German engineering group Siemens AG <SIEGn.DE> said it would help create investments and provide financing for $5.6 billion in infrastructure projects, including gas-fired power plants.
GE said its investment will help build seven power plants that will add around 1 gigawatt to the country's electric system. The figure includes the $350 million GE has already decided to invest alongside state-controlled oil company YPF <YPFD.BA> to build plants in the Neuquen and Tucuman provinces.
Macri won the presidency last year after promising to open Argentina's economy to foreign investment. Companies generally speak enthusiastically about his policies, but many are hesitant to invest because of Argentina's notoriously volatile politics and economic crises.
"When we saw the Argentinian people elect President Macri, and we looked at the leadership team that he assembled, we saw a real tipping point," Rice said.
Rice was speaking at an event held by the Financial Times newspaper in New York, where Macri is traveling this week to attend the United Nations General Assembly.
(Reporting by Dion Rabouin in New York; Writing by Luc Cohen)