NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- General Electric (GE) - Get General Electric Company (GE) Report is shifting back to investing in coal after focusing on natural gas as the fuel of the future, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The energy giant almost doubled its fleet of large turbines in coal plants to more than 1,500 globally, in part due to its $10 billion purchase of Alstom SA's (ALSMY) power business in 2015.
GE is now focused on coal due to its expansion in remote markets, such as India and Southeast Asia, as well as its increasing need for growth after the financial crisis. The company says it can garner profits from existing coal power plants and install upgrades to them that will abide by regulators' emission rules while meeting utilities' desire to boost production.
Global electric production by coal in 2040 is predicted to be 23% higher than in 2012, the Energy Information Administration said, according to the Journal. While coal use slumps in the U.S. and Europe, two-thirds of the market's growth would come from new units in India and China.
GE had previously taken stake in what it referred to as the "Age of Gas," launching a marketing campaign titled "ecoimagination," which promoted clean energy technologies such as natural-gas-fired turbines.
Now, GE will invest in existing turbines in the U.S. and Europe, which are too important to the power grid to shut down, the Journal added. Additionally, the company's acquisition of Alstom will give it access to the growing markets in India, Malaysia and other areas.
Shares of GE were up flat in pre-market trading after closing at $31.29 on Wednesday.
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Separately, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author. TheStreet Ratings has this to say about the recommendation:
We rate GENERAL ELECTRIC CO as a Buy with a ratings score of B. This is driven by a number of strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its compelling growth in net income, revenue growth, solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth and notable return on equity. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated.
You can view the full analysis from the report here: GE