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GE reportedly considering selling more business units

GE reportedly considering selling more business units

Bloomberg News says sale would include steam power assets acquired in 2015; General Electric won't comment
GE reportedly considering selling more business units
The General Electric plant in Schenectady.
Photographer: Marc Schultz/Gazette Photographer

BOSTON — As it continues its downsizing and streamlining, General Electric is reportedly looking at shedding the power-generation assets it acquired from French company Alstom in 2015.

Citing people familiar with the situation, Bloomberg News reported Thursday that GE is attempting to gauge interest by potential buyers over the next few months and may decide not to sell the business, called Steam Power.

The sprawling plant at the foot of Erie Boulevard in Schenectady manufactures steam turbines and generators but is not part of Steam Power, and was never part of Alstom, and so presumably would not be part of a sale.

A GE spokesman on Thursday declined to discuss the Bloomberg report, telling The Daily Gazette: “As a matter of practice, we do not comment on market rumors or speculation.”

GE Power is one of four component businesses of General Electric, along with Aviation, Healthcare and Renewable Energy. GE Power until recently was headquartered in Schenectady, birthplace of General Electric itself. In late 2018 it was split into two divisions: Gas Power and Power Portfolio, which includes the Steam, Nuclear and Conversion units.

The manufacturing operation in Schenectady is part of Gas Power — the steam turbines and generators built there are coupled with gas turbines in high-efficiency combined-cycle power plants.

GE Power has been a financial drag on General Electric in recent years, due in no small part to the expensive and poorly timed acquisition of power-generation assets from Alstom. GE Power has been the target of significant cost-cutting efforts in recent years by General Electric CEO H. Lawrence Culp Jr. and his predecessor, John Flannery, with facility closures, organizational restructuring and significant workforce reductions. Ten months ago, a GE executive said cuts had totaled 34 percent in Schenectady and in Greenville, S.C., where gas turbines are built.

Culp has been making many other changes companywide to raise cash and cut costs, including freezing some pensions and shrinking the headquarters. On Wednesday morning, GE reported better-than-predicted financial results for 2019 and the company’s stock price jumped more than 10 percent in heavy trading afterward.

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