NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of General Electric (GE) - Get Report were down in late-afternoon trading on Thursday as Citigroup analysts said the company's decision to buy privately-held Concept Laser demonstrates a growing focus on 3D printing in the industrial sector.
GE yesterday abandoned its proposed $732.9 million acquisition of rival 3D printing firm SLM Solutions as activist investor Elliott Advisors rejected the bid.
As part of its deal with Concept Laser, GE agreed to purchase a 75% stake in the German 3D printing company for $599 million with the opportunity of taking full ownership in a number of years.
"We expect this news to be well received by the 3D printing investor community as a whole," the firm said in an analyst note, according to Barron's.
Citigroup believes the deal suggests GE won't consider making a bid for 3D printing companies Stratasys (SSYS), 3D Systems (DDD) or voxeljet (VJET) because GE is "clearly" focused on metals platforms.
GE also said today that it was raising its bid for Swedish 3D printer maker Arcam (AMAVF). Arcam uses machines that have a patented electron beam to melt metal powder and form parts, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Concept Laser is also a top producer of machines for metals-based printing, Reuters reports.
If GE looks to pursue another company in the additive manufacturing market, 3D Systems would probably be the top choice, but Citigroup analysts view that as unlikely.
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The team rates GE as a Buy with a ratings score of B-. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, impressive record of earnings per share growth and notable return on equity. The team feels its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself.
You can view the full analysis from the report here: GE