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Investing in General Electric Stock (GE) - Investopedia

General Electric Co. (GE), known to investors as GE, is a global industrial company operating in the power, renewable energy, aviation, healthcare, and financial services industries. It serves customers in 170 countries. 1 In recent years the company has gone through a series of major restructurings. That includes a long list of spinoffs such as the merger or sale of its energy services, lightbulb, transportation, appliance, aviation services and other businesses. 2

GE was founded by inventor Thomas A. Edison and incorporated in 1892 as a result of a merger between the Edison General Electric Co. and the Thomson-Houston Co. 3 Early on, the company produced Edison's first incandescent light bulb and the developed technologies to power lighting systems. In more recent decades, the company has expanded into areas hydroelectric power, gas and wind turbines, jet engines, health, manufacturing, and industrial internet services. 4 Records in the 1890s are spotty regarding exactly when GE went public, but shares of the company have traded publicly since at least May 26, 1896, when it was one of the 12 original companies in the newly published the Dow Jones Industrial Average. 5

GE's corporate headquarters are in Boston, Massachusetts. 6 Since September 2018, the company has been led by chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) H. Lawrence Culp, Jr. 7 GE is classified as a member of the industrials sector, although it has business operations across a variety of industries. 8 Some of GE's largest competitors include Honeywell International Inc. (HON), 3M Co. (MMM), Germany-based Siemens AG (SIEGY), and France-based Schneider Electric SE (SBGSF). For FY 2020, GE reported consolidated net earnings attributable to common shareholders of $5.2 billion on consolidated revenues of $79.6 billion. 9

Key Takeaways

  • GE is an industrial company focused on the power, renewable energy, aviation, healthcare, and financial services industries.
  • Major GE rivals include Honeywell International Inc. (HON), 3M Co. (MMM), Germany-based Siemens AG (SIEGY), and France-based Schneider Electric SE (SBGSF).
  • GE reported consolidated net earnings attributable to common shareholders of $5.2 billion on consolidated revenues of $79.6 billion for FY 2020.
  • In November 2021, GE made two major announcements. The company said it would split GE into three companies. And it announced it had completed the combination of GE Capital Aviation Services with AerCap Holdings N.V. 10 2

GE's Recent Developments

  • On Nov. 9, 2021, GE stunned investors by announcing that it will split 129-year-old GE into three separate companies, completing the process by 2024. (More info in QA below.) 11
  • GE completed the combination of GE Capital Aviation Services with AerCap Holdings N.V. GE on Nov. 1, 2021, receiving total consideration of more than $30 billion upon closing, including approximately $23 billion in net cash proceeds and a roughly 46% stake in the combined company valued at $6.6 billion. CEO Cult said that the main goal of this deal was to raise cash. The proceeds helped GE to reduce its corporate debt by $75 billion since the end of 2018. The deal also gave GE "a meaningful stake in AerCap that we will monetize as the aviation industry recovers," Culp said. 2
  • On Oct. 26, 2021, GE reported financial results for Q3 FY 2021. The company beat analyst estimates for adjusted earnings per share (EPS) but missed on revenue. 12

What is happening with the GE split?

On Nov. 9, 2021, GE announced that it plans to form three public companies focused on aviation, healthcare, and energy by 2024. The company's GE Healthcare will be spun off in a tax-free arrangement in early 2023. GE Renewable Energy, GE Power, and GE Digital will combine into one energy business, and then spin off in early 2024. Following those two transactions, the GE will be left with a third, aviation-focused company. 10 GE said it expects to take a one-time $2 billion charge related to separation, transition and operational costs involved in the plan, plus tax costs estimated to be less than $500 million. 11

What is Happening With GE's Spinoffs?

GE's current subsidiaries include GE Additive, GE Aviation, GE Capital, GE Digital, GE Healthcare, GE Power, GE Renewable Energy, and GE Research. 13 In recent years, GE has engaged in a long list of spinoffs of many of its business lines and ventures. Below is a look at some of the biggest ones.

On Feb. 12, 2013, the company announced that it would sell its remaining 49% interest in its joint venture with Comcast Corp. (CMCSA), including NBCUniversal and other assets, for $18.1 billion. 14 On June 6, 2016 the company sold its legacy appliances business to China-based Haier Group Corp. for $5.6 billion. 15 On Feb. 25, 2019, GE completed the spinoff and subsequent merger of its transportation business with Wabtec Corp. (WAB) In the transaction, GE received about $2.9 billion in cash and about 24.9% ownership in Wabtec. 16 On July 1, 2020, GE finalized the sale of its legacy Lighting business to Savant Systems Inc. for a reported $250 million. 17 18

GE announced in June 2018 that it planned to spin off its giant healthcare business in order to focus on its core industrial businesses. 19 In February 2019 the company announced the sale of BioPharma, which was part of GE's healthcare business, to Danaher Corp. (DHR) for approximately $20 billion. 20 Soon after the BioPharma announcement, CEO Culp, who had taken the helm just months earlier, said an IPO of GE Healthcare now was "unlikely." 21 Instead, GE expanded its healthcare business with the September 2021 acquisition of BK Medical, a leader in advanced surgical visualization including ultrasound, for $1.5 billion in September 2021. 22 GE then announced in November 2021 that it plans to spin off its healthcare business by 2023. 10 As mentioned, GE in November 2021 also completed the merger of GE Capital Aviation Services with AerCap Holdings N.V.

What is Happening With GE and Baker Hughes?

On July 3, 2017, GE completed the merger of subsidiary GE Oil Gas with industrial services and energy technology company Baker Hughes. GE said the deal created the "first and only company to bring together industry-leading equipment, services and digital solutions across the entire spectrum of oil and gas." Following the merger, the company became known as Baker Hughes, a GE company, and traded on the NYSE under the ticker BHGE. 23

In November 2018, GE announced the sale of part of its stake in Baker Hughes for roughly $4 billion both to Baker Hughes and in a secondary offering. 24 In September 2019, Baker Hughes announced that GE planned to sell more of its stake, changing GE from a majority owner of Baker Hughes into a minority owner. 25 In July 2020, GE announced plans to sell its remaining stake and thus fully divest from Baker Hughes over a period of three years. 26

FAQs

Has GE ever split its stock?

GE has split its stock seven times and completed an additional reverse split: 27

  • June 8, 1971: a 2-for-1 split of common shares.
  • June 2, 1983: a 2-for-1 split of common shares.
  • May 26, 1987: a 2-for-1 split of common shares.
  • May 16, 1994: a 2-for-1 split of common shares.
  • May 12, 1997: a 2-for-1 split of common shares.
  • May 8, 2000: a 3-for-1 split of common shares.
  • Feb. 26, 2019: a 104-for-100 split of common shares.
  • Aug. 2, 2021: a 1-for-8 reverse split of common shares.

Does GE pay a dividend?

GE pays a quarterly dividend. The most recent dividend was $0.08 per common share, payable on Oct. 25, 2021 to shareholders of record as of Sept. 27, 2021. 28

How many shares of GE stock are there?

As of Sept. 30, 2021, GE's stock had 1,098,137,128 shares of common stock. 29

Who is the CEO of GE?

Larry Culp, Jr. has been chairman and CEO of GE since October 2018. He joined the GE Board of Directors in April 2018. Culp was CEO of Danaher Corp. from 2000 to 2014, having joined Danaher in 1990. 30

When was GE replaced on the Dow Jones Index?

GE, one of the founding members of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, has been removed from the index three times in its history. GE was dropped from the index in 1898, before it rejoined the following year inĀ 1899. It was then dropped once again in 1901, returning to the Dow in 1907. Most recently, it was dropped from the index in June 2018. 31 32