General Electric (GE) - Get Report shares rose firmly in pre-market trading Monday amid reports the industrial is ready to merger its transportation business with rail equipment maker Wabec Corp. (WAB) - Get Report in a $20 billion deal that could come as early as this week.
Reuters reported over the weekend that the deal, which would be the biggest move under new CEO John Flannery, would match the $4.7 billion in GE transport revenues with the $9.2 billion market value of locomotive, freight and marine diesel engine equipment maker Westinghouse Air Brake Technologies Corp., also known as Wabtec.
GE shares were marked 2.2% higher in pre-market trading in New York, indicating an opening bell price of $15.30, a move that would still leave it with a year-to-date decline of 12.2%.
However, Boston-based GE has rallied nearly 10%, including this morning's gains, since it reported first quarter earnings last month that included an impressive topline of $28.7 billion, double-digit earnings growth for its transportation, aviation and healthcare businesses. and a promise from Flannery that there would be "no sacred cows" in hits plans to streamline the business.
"We are reviewing a number of structures. We are working through this right now in great detail with the board," Flannery told investors on April 20.
GE's transportation business booked $1.5 billion in new orders in the three months ending in March, up 46% from the same period last year, and notched sales of $872 million. The group's profit margin was 14.9%, GE said, just below Healthcare at 15.2% but well shy of the 22.5% figure for the Aviation group.