GE Europe chief wants Britain in EU, Scotland to stay part of UK - FT

Reuters

March 24 (Reuters) - The chief of General Electric's European business said the industrial conglomerate wanted Britain to stay in the European Union and Scotland to remain part of Britain, the Financial Times reported.

A large-scale poll showed on Sunday that public opinion split on whether Britain should leave the 28-country bloc but highlighted widespread discontent among voters about the ways in which the country benefits from its EU membership.

The FT said GE Europe's chief executive, Ferdinando Beccalli-Falco, believed a more united Europe was necessary to compete with China and the United States. (http://link.reuters.com/wab87v)

A fully integrated Europe is a 450 million person powerhouse - the most important market in the world - Beccalli-Falco said, adding that England leaving the EU would not be good for either England or Europe.

GE makes about 24 billion euros ($33.08 billion) in revenue per year from Europe, about 17 percent of its overall revenue, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Beccalli-Falco also said uncertainty over Britain's future EU membership was not having an impact on GE's investment decisions, but that GE wanted Britain to remain an active participant in the eurozone, the newspaper said on its website.

It added that Beccalli-Falco said Scotland was so thoroughly integrated in Britain's industrial and financial sectors that cutting it loose would not be an easy task and would have unpleasant consequences.

Scotland will vote on whether to end its 307-year union with England in September.

GE joins BlackRock, RBS, Standard Life and Barclays and the bosses of oil majors BP and Royal Dutch Shell in voicing its opinion against Scottish independence.

GE could not be reached for comment outside of regular business hours.

($1 = 0.7256 Euros) (Reporting by Richa Naidu in Bangalore; Editing by Anand Basu)

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