From turbines and oilfield equipment, to aircraft engines and power plants, General Electric (GE) is plugged in to industrial equipment businesses that shape the modern world. The company produces aircraft engines, locomotives and other transportation equipment, generators and turbines, and oil and gas exploration and production equipment. GE also is a major healthcare products provider. GE has sold its former GE Capital businesses to focus on its core industrial businesses. To grow its oil and gas business, in 2016 GE made an offer to merge GE Oil & Gas with Baker Hughes.
GE's raison d'etre has traditionally been its industrial products. The company has shuffled its organizational structure several times, but its long-term goal is to specialize in industrial manufacturing. Currently, the company divides its operations across several segments: Capital, Healthcare, Aviation, Power, Oil & Gas, Renewable Energy, Energy Management, and Transportation.
The appliance segment accounted for less than 10% of GE's overall revenues. In 2016, the company sold its appliance business to China-based appliance manufacturer Qingdao Haier Co. for $5.6 billion.
The company announced in mid-2015 that it would be selling its GE Capital business, which includes its banking, real estate, and leasing operations, to focus more on its core strengths. Discontinued operations include financial services businesses, its consumer business, most of its CLL business, its Real Estate business and its US mortgage business.
GE has 206 manufacturing plants in 40 states in the US and Puerto Rico; it also operates about 300 plants in 40 other countries. Its vast operations are located in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Australia, Europe, and the Middle East. The company serves customers in more than 180 countries and generates more the half of its revenue from international markets.
Note: The company has restated its revenues for previous years due to the divestment of GE Capital.
In 2015, GE's revenue decreased by 21% to $117.4 billion primarily due to divestment of its GE Capital segment.
Excluding the impact of discontinued operations, the company’s revenue was flat. It reported growth in revenue in power, energy management, aviation, appliances & lighting and capital due to higher sales, partially offset a drop in revenue from oil & gas and healthcare as a result of the strengthening US dollar and lower prices.
After growth in 2014 to $15.2 billion, the company reported a net loss of $6 billion in 2015. The huge net loss was due to $7.4 billion loss from discontinued operations including Electricity Meters business, Intelligent Platforms Embedded Systems Products business and Clarient business.
GE's operating cash flow has decreased over last five years. In 2015, operating cash flow declined by 28% to $7.8 billion.
CEO Jeff Immelt is obviously not shy about making sweeping changes, whether by divesting underperforming segments or investing in probable growth industries. He has emerged from the considerable shadow of his predecessor, Jack Welch, by diverging somewhat from Welch's slavish obsession with the bottom line and encouraging managers to innovate and take more risks. As a result, GE has been growing in such areas as biotech, renewable energy, nanotechnology, and digital technology, while divesting its financial businesses. Immelt has taken a page from his former boss' playbook by pursuing growth outside the US, particularly in emerging markets like India, China, Eastern Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.
As part of its strategy to focus on its industrial operations, the company announced in mid-2015 that it would be selling its GE Capital business (which includes its banking, real estate, and leasing operations) and other non core assets. The company began by selling its $26.5 billion of real estate assets (which included factories, commercial loans, and apartment complexes) to Wells Fargo bank and private equity firm Blackstone.
In 2015, GE Capital merged into GE. The merger and creation of a new intermediate holding company was part of a reorganization of GE Capital's businesses pursuant to which GE separated GE Capital's international and US operations. GE Capital's international operations were consolidated under a new international holding company (GE Capital International Holdings Limited), which has a separate capital structure.
Also that year, GE sold its Electricity Meters business to Aclara Technologies, LLC, for $220 million and its Intelligent Platforms Embedded Systems Products business within its Energy Management segment to Veritas Capital for $515 million; and its Clarient business within its Healthcare segment to NeoGenomics, for $255 million.
In late 2015, GE terminated its agreement to sell its household appliances business to the world's second-largest appliance maker Electrolux for $3.3 billion in after a year of opposition from US regulators over concerns about competition. In 2016, GE sold its appliance business to China-based appliance manufacturer Qingdao Haier Co. for $5.6 billion.
In 2016, PnuVax Incorporated, a vaccine and biopharmaceutical company, and GE Healthcare’s Life Sciences business entered an agreement under which PnuVax can acquire GE Healthcare’s intellectual property relating to an inactivated yellow fever vaccine.
In 2016, the company sold its Equipment Finance and Receivable Finance businesses in France and Germany to Banque Fédérative du Crédit Mutuel; it also sold GE Capital’s Commercial Lending and Leasing portfolios in Australia and New Zealand to Bain Capital Credit.
On the growth front, in 2015, the company created GE Digital, with activities focused on assisting in the market development of its digital product offerings through software design, fulfillment and product management, while also interfacing with its customers. Digital revenues include software-enabled product upgrades, internally developed software (including Predix) and associated hardware, and software-enabled productivity solutions.
Mergers and Acquisitions
In 2016, the company acquired the Heat Recovery Steam Generator (HRSG) business of Doosan Engineering & Construction for $250 million to fulfill the growing demand for its combined-cycle power plant solutions, which use HRSG technology, and continue to expand its customer offerings.
With an eye towards improving oil prices, in late 2016 GE made a move to create a $32 billion oil business by making an offer to merge GE Oil & Gas with and into Baker Hughes. GE would own 62.5% of the expanded company.
In mid-2016, GE announced plans to buy Swedish firm Arcam and German firm SLM Solutions for some $1.4 billion. The European companies both specialize in 3D printing and will become part of GE's aviation division.
Other 2016 acquisitions included Biosafe Group SA, a supplier of integrated cell bioprocessing systems for the rapidly growing cell therapy and regenerative medicine industry; and Australian technology start-up, Daintree Networks, a provider of building controls solutions for commercial facilities.
In November 2015, as part of its strategy of transforming more toward its industrial businesses, GE acquired the power assets of France's Alstom for $16.9 billion. This deal, the biggest acquisition in GE's history to date, expanded GE's global base of power-generating turbines. It also provided the company with access to expected growth in emerging markets.
GE also agreed to buy Danish firm LM Wind Power, which designs and manufactures wind turbine blades, for $1.65 billion. LM Wind Power -- which will continue to run as a standalone unit within GE Renewable Energy -- operates 13 factories in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. The acquisition will provide GE with entry into the turbine blade production industry.
In January 2015, GE acquired Milestone Aviation Group for $1.8 billion.
In 2015, the company acquired Advantec group for $0.1 billion. The group, mainly based in Norway, provides subsea intervention equipment and services to the oil and gas industry.
In 2014, to further expand its presence in the oil and gas industry, GE acquired the reciprocating compression division of Cameron. That year it also strengthened its healthcare business by purchasing select life-science businesses from Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. for $1.1 billion, and by acquiring management software and analytics provider API Healthcare for $0.3 billion.