GE explores gas engine business sale

NEW YORK: General Electric Co is exploring a sale of its industrial gas engine business that could be worth as much as $2 billion, according to people familiar with the matter. The move comes after Chief Executive Officer John Flannery, who took over as CEO last summer, indicated to analysts and investors for the first time last month that he was open to breaking up the company and said that a spinoff of any of its units, which include power, healthcare and aviation, was a possibility. Divesting the industrial gas engine business, which includes the Jenbacher and Waukesha engines, would help streamline GE’s power division, whose profit plunged 45 per cent last year as sales of power plants and services fell sharply.

GE has hired Citigroup Inc to prepare a sale process for the industrial gas business, the sources said on Friday. The sources asked not to be identified because the matter is confidential. A GE spokeswoman declined to comment, while a Citigroup spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The unit for sale makes multi-tonne gas turbines that generate on-site power to keep industrial plants running. Jenbacher and Waukesha engines cover the small to mid-sized segment of GE’s power business, ranging from 100 kilowatts to 10 megawatts. Flannery said last November that GE would exit at least $20 billion in operations, as it tries to shore up its financial performance. As part of this review, GE is exploring options for its transportation unit, which makes railway locomotives; its iconic lighting division, which makes bulbs for consumers; and its healthcare information technology business. — Reuters