Industrial conglomerate General Electric announced it would be unloading most of its GE Capital assets, the business involved in financing many of the products the company sold.
Among other things, GE announced it would sell approximately $US26.5 billion worth of real estate.
“I like the package,” former GE CEO Jack Welch said to CNBC. “It looks like a smart move and right for the changing financial landscape.”
This is an important endorsement of the moves being made by current CEO Jeff Immelt and his team. Welch ran GE from 1981 to 2001, building up what current management has been spending years to unwind.
“This is a major step in our strategy to focus GE around its competitive advantages,” Immelt said. “GE today is a premier industrial and technology company with businesses in essential infrastructure industries. These businesses are leaders in technology, the Industrial Internet and advanced manufacturing. They are well-positioned in growth markets and are delivering superior customer outcomes, while achieving higher margins. They will be paired with a smaller GE Capital, whose businesses are aligned with GE’s industrial growth.”
Like the big banks and many other players in the financial services industry, GE Capital got slammed by the financial crisis and the great recession. Rising defaults and frozen credit markets were devastating for any business offering any financing.
This slide below from GE reflects management’s aggressive shift to reduce exposure to GE Capital.