British electronics and defence giant General Electric (GEC) yesterday said it was taking control of the country's largest telecommunications equipment manufacturer GPT in a deal to boost its presence in the high-growth industrial telecoms market. Through a cash deal and asset swap, GEC will buy the 40 per cent of GPT it does not already own from Germany's Siemens for GBP700 million (about HK$9.01 billion). Siemens will receive some GBP610 million from GEC and also be given 50 per cent, minus one share, of Siemens GEC Communications. GEC said it would then merge GPT with the telecoms operations of its Marconi subsidiary, forming Marconi Communications. 'The creation of Marconi Communications will unlock a range of value enhancing opportunities,' GEC said. In turn Siemens said it intended to form two new British companies to focus its telecoms businesses and develop its long-term aim to expand in mobile-telephone systems and broadband data-transmission technology. Siemens said the GEC deal would generate a one-off gain of more than 100 million deutschemarks (about HK$429 million). GEC said its GPT purchase would dramatically increase capacity to access new high-growth markets and enter strategic partnerships, and enhance synergies and revenues through a more co-ordinated product offering. 'The formation of Marconi Communications demonstrates our responsiveness to the needs of our customers, and creates a strong unified platform which will aggressively expand GEC's interests in this fast growing global market,' GEC managing director Lord Simpson said. GPT is among the leading international manufacturers of equipment for public-network operators, and provides project management and systems integration services. It also provides smart technology payphones and cards and cable manufacture and services. The company is the world leader in cutting-edge synchronous digital hierarchy technology, which allows networks to carry large amounts of traffic. For the year to March 1997, GPT pre-tax profits reached GBP172 million on sales of GBP1.17 billion. Net assets were valued at GBP246 million.