General Electric breaks off healthcare to focus on power, aviation

General Electric's chief said the company is "aggressively driving forward as an aviation, power and renewable energy company"
AFP

New York (AFP) – Once-dominant industrial giant General Electric announced Tuesday it will shed its healthcare business to concentrate on power and aviation, in the latest attempt to shore up the struggling company.

After a year-long strategic review, “GE will focus on Aviation, Power and Renewable Energy, creating a simpler, stronger, leading high-tech Industrial company,” the company said in a statement.

It also will “fully separate” its interest in oil services firm Baker Hughes (BHGE), of which it holds 62.5 percent.

The plan is to “separate GE Healthcare into a standalone company, pursue an orderly separation from BHGE over the next two to three years, make its corporate structure leaner and substantially reduce debt.”

GE chief John Flannery said the company is “aggressively driving forward as an aviation, power and renewable energy company — three highly complementary businesses poised for future growth.”

The restructuring will “make GE simpler and stronger,” he said.

The company said it expects to “generate cash” from selling its 20 percent in GE Healthcare, “and to distribute the remaining 80 percent to GE shareholders through a tax-free distribution.”

The healthcare arm, which provides medical imaging and other services, had $19 billion in revenue in 2017.

The move comes on the heels of a bruising two-year slump for the iconic US company, which has seen shares tumble nearly 60 percent over the last 24 months amid downturns in its power generation and oil services businesses.

Last week, the company was dropped from the Dow Jones Industrial stock index, of which it was a founding member.

GE stock was up nearly six percent in pre-market trading after the latest restructuring announcement.

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