GE to spin off healthcare business, divest oil services

June 26 (UPI) — Cash-strapped General Electric announced plans Tuesday to spin its healthcare unit off and sell its stake in oil and gas company Baker Hughes.

The announcement came on the same day Walgreens’ parent company replaced GE on the Dow Jones Industrial Average index.

GE, which became an original member of the Dow in 1896, was a continuous member of the benchmark 30-stock index since November 7, 1907. The company was recently ranked as the sixth smallest member of the Dow by market value and carried the index’s lowest stock price.

GE said in a statement Tuesday it will separate GE Healthcare into a standalone company and begin to sell off Baker Hughes.

“We are aggressively driving forward as an aviation, power and renewable energy company — three highly complementary businesses poised for future growth,” said GE CEO John Flannery. “We will continue to improve our operations and balance sheet as we make GE simpler and stronger.”

Flannery said putting GE Healthcare and Baker Hughes outside its current structure will benefit all parties.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission began investigating GE’s accounting practices in January after it posted a $9.8 billion loss in the last quarter of 2017. The SEC said it would look into the company’s revenue recognition and controls for long-term service agreements.

GE said at the time it would take a $6.2 billion charge and set aside $15 billion to pay obligations held by its financial unit. The conglomerate planned to restate its 2016 and 2017 financial results as it adjusted its accounting procedures.

In April, GE reported first-quarter earnings of $28.7 billion, an increase of 7 percent.

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