General Electric announces strategic plan to focus on renewable power

General Electric Co's incoming chief executive John Flannery is shown in this undated handout

General Electric Co's incoming chief executive John Flannery is shown in this undated handout

General Electric, which will leave the Dow Jones industrial average on Tuesday, will sell off its distributed power business as part of its ongoing restructuring plan, the company announced Monday.

Trian Fund Management, which holds a stake in GE and has a seat on the board, said it welcomed the moves. LPL Financial LLC now owns 20,890 shares of the company's stock valued at $580,000 after purchasing an additional 4,423 shares during the last quarter. But on Tuesday, Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. took its spot in the stock index of 30 blue-chip companies. When Flannery's done, GE will bear little resemblance to the conglomerate that used to count NBC, home-appliances, plastics and a sprawling finance unit among its holdings.

Once Berkshire County's largest employer, GE traces its roots to Thomas Edison and the invention of the light bulb.

GE said its new energy strategy, driven by GE Power and GE Renewable Energy, is based on offering a full range of energy solutions across the electricity value chain that bring affordable, reliable, efficient energy to businesses and consumers.

The changes will profoundly reshape an icon of American business, which is mired in one of the worst slumps in its 126-year history amid flagging demand for industrial equipment, weak cash generation and an accounting investigation by USA regulators. Aviation has been highly profitable, but power business profit has tumbled as sales of plants and services have slowed, and renewable energy profit margins are less than 5 percent, a result of fierce price competition.

The changes aim to reward battered shareholders and strengthen GE's balance sheet by reducing debt, building up cash and further shrinking GE Capital, GE said.

General Electric's stock has fallen nearly 80 per cent from highs in 2000.

GE has seen its stock value drop precipitously in the past year. The stock is near its lowest level in about nine years. The division makes MRI machines and sells other medical equipment to hospitals and labs.

GE Healthcare recorded more than $19 billion in revenues, 5% revenue growth, and 9% segment profit growth in 2017, according to the statement. The institutional investor owned 419,141 shares of the company's stock after buying an additional 14,161 shares during the period.

GE anticipates it will generate cash from the disposition of 20 percent of its interest in GE Healthcare.

The exact structure and timing will be determined at a later date. Following the completion of the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 3,042 shares of the company's stock, valued at $112,462.74. Finally, Van ECK Associates Corp raised its position in shares of Baker Hughes A GE by 15.2% in the first quarter. It also will sell off shares of its ownership in oil services company Baker Hughes over the next two to three years. Former CEO Jeffrey Immelt once said its portfolio was too broad and too opaque.

GE plans to fully sell its 62.5 percent stake in Baker Hughes in an orderly manner over the next two to three years. Total debt, including pension liabilities, has almost tripled since 2013, according to Moody's. The company does business in 140 countries.

GE, however, is not coming back.

GE signaled on Tuesday that it may need to once again cut its dividend.

"GE Healthcare's vision is to drive more individualized, precise and effective patient outcomes", Murphy said in a statement. Until then, GE said it plans to keep the current dividend.

The decision to divest does not mean GE dislikes the businesses, he said.

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