GE Buys Czech Engine Maker Walter

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GE has purchased a stake in the growing small turboprop market with the acquisition of Prague-based Walter Engines. The 750-hp M601 engine produced by the company is in the same class as the dominant Pratt & Whitney PT-6. The M601 is less expensive than the Pratts and devotees of the Walter say it's rugged and reliable. It hasn't found much of a following in the U.S. but it's popular in emerging markets like India and Eastern Europe. It powers about 30 types of aircraft, including the 19-seat Let L-410 commuter aircraft.

GE said it bought Walter to extend its marketing reach into Eastern Europe. Terms of the deal were not released. Walter has about 520 employees.