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GE Considers Selling Baker Hughes Assets

GE

General Electric is going through some serious changes in its core business structure, according to some news from CEO John Flannery, and is looking at selling off its Baker Hughes assets.

Activist investor Trian Partners had been vying for GE to simplify its business model.

"Complexity has hurt us," CEO John Flannery told investors. "We have not performed well for our owners. The management team is completely devoted to doing whatever it takes to correct that. Going forward, we really just have to focus on how we can create the most value from the portfolio of assets we have for our owners. We are going to do that with a very dispassionate eye."

GE "has constantly leveraged its technology strength to remake itself over time," the CEO said. "It has used its grip to move forward and reinvent the company and that's really where we are again today."

The American firm expects to sell off some key assets to continue its core operations – including selling off Baker Hughes from its conglomerate entity. Other assets that may find themselves on the chopping block are locomotives and industrial lighting.

"We want to maximize the value" of the Baker Hughes stake "for shareholders of our company," Flannery said. "Part of that might be, 'Is there is a different form for the structure/ownership of that asset?”

Related: Is Peak Permian Only 3 Years Away?

Bakes Hughes still holds some power over the fate of its corporate life, according to previous contracts. Through mid-2019, the sub-company still has a say over approval rights over its parent company’s planned actions, but GE is taking the energy market’s antics blow-by-blow.

"We see a protracted slowdown in the North American market," Flannery said, driven in part by a long-term slowdown in coal shipments. Still, "we have an excellent franchise. We're exploring the options we have with these assets. It may be a sale, it may be a spinoff."

By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

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