GE: Trim and Fit?

12/01/2014 7:00 am EST

Focus: STOCKS

Benj Gallander

President, Contra the Heard

Some people keep saying that North America is going to have to return to manufacturing, and if that’s true, this company is poised to be one of the big players, points out Benj Gallander in Contra the Heard.

General Electric (GE) is getting trim and fit and pays a respectable yield of 3.5%.

GE is still quite eclectic, but is becoming decidedly less so. Indeed, many on the Street are impressed with how focused GE is restructuring its portfolio.

CEO Jeff Immelt is a mover and shaker when it comes to his plan to boost earnings from the industrial component to 75% by 2016 from 55% last year. That is a huge transition and it is important that he not rush through it and add rags while reducing riches.

The company recently sold the iconic appliance unit to electronics manufacturer Electrolux AB for $3.3 billion and had earlier exited the media business.

In June, approval was given from French conglomerate Alstom, the world leader in stream turbines, to acquire its power and grid businesses for $16.9 billion.

Power and water is one of the high-growth, high-margin industrial segments of GE and fits in well with its other industrials such as oil and gas, aviation, and healthcare.

GE recently signed an agreement with Exelon to supply a new line of power-generating equipment to be used in the expansion of two of that firm’s power plants in Texas.

In July, GE spun off its consumer-lending arm, Synchrony Financial, in a big move to de-risk and meet the goal of reducing the finance business by 2015.

This will shield the parent company from any market volatilities that are sure to crop up down the highway.

GE was added to the President’s Portfolio at a very opportune time and has been trending steadily upward for almost three years.

The initial sell target of $35.24 was set when the dividend was slashed and the balance sheet wasn’t very clean, but with the idea that GE’s reputation as an integral part of the American and global economy would remain intact.

Meanwhile, we think there is an excellent likelihood of GE’s payout being increased once again before too long. Where the stock price is concerned, that should bring good things to life.

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