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2016: A Year of Transformation for General Electric

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Jan. 17 2017, Published 3:59 p.m. ET

General Electric’s transformation

In this series, we’ll discuss General Electric’s (GE) expectations for 2017. We’ll also take a look at some of the milestones that made 2016 one for the books for GE. In almost every aspect of GE’s business, 2016 was a truly remarkable year.

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GE Capital asset sale

GE made big moves in contribution to GE Capital’s proposed $200.0 billion asset sale. On November 30, 2016, the company sold its shares in GE Capital Interbanca to Banca IFIS in Italy. 

Since its asset sale announcement in April 2015, GE Capital has signed agreements for the sale of ~$195.0 billion worth of assets to businesses. So far, it’s closed ~$186.0 billion worth of those transactions.

GE’s digital dream

CEO Jeffrey Immelt’s ambitions of converting GE into an industrial software giant are well known. The company is targeting $15.0 billion in software revenue by 2020. GE’s shifting its corporate headquarters to Boston was widely seen as a step toward fulfilling this software ambition.

The company has also centered its focus on Additive Manufacturing. To further its Additive Manufacturing ambitions, in 3Q16, GE acquired two 3D printing companies, Arcam and SLM, for $1.4 billion in cash. 

GE plans to integrate 3D printing technology into its core industrial business. The company has already reached some major milestones in the aviation business via 3D printing technology.

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Baker Hughes and GE Oil & Gas

General Electric played its masterstroke with the announcement of its merging its Oil & Gas division with Baker Hughes (BHI). GE’s oil and gas assets combined with BHI are expected to create a complementary technology platform, a wider product offering, and cost optimization benefits. BHI’s core business could also benefit from GE’s advanced technology and wide customer base.

ETF investment

General Electric makes up 0.74% of the portfolio holdings of the SPDR S&P 1500 Value Tilt ETF (VLU). Some other big industrial names included in VLU are United Technologies (UTX), Caterpillar (CAT), and Schlumberger (SLB).

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