Will GE Stock be Helped by Sale of Australia Commercial Lending Business?

NEW YORK (TheStreet) --General Electric (GE) is said to have begun the process of selling its $5 billion Australia Commercial Lending Business, sources tell The Wall Street Journal.

The sale is in its early stages and comes as the conglomerate is also looking to sell its commercial lending operation in Japan. GE wants to get out of the banking business.

Two months ago GE reached a deal to sell its Australia and New Zealand consumer-lending segment for an enterprise value of $6.3 billion, The Journal said, adding that company CEO Jeff Immelt has vowed to refocus GE towards industrial businesses that range from wind turbines to aircraft engines.

Immelt is looking to sell or spin off the majority of the company's $500 billion in global financial assets and intends to use the proceeds to return $50 billion to GE shareholders.

Shares of GE are down by 0.13% to $27.32 in late morning trading on Wednesday.

Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates GENERAL ELECTRIC CO as a Hold with a ratings score of C+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate GENERAL ELECTRIC CO (GE) a HOLD. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed-some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its expanding profit margins and good cash flow from operations. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, generally higher debt management risk and disappointing return on equity."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The gross profit margin for GENERAL ELECTRIC CO is rather high; currently it is at 51.25%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $6,090.00 million or 22.75% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of 8.04%.
  • Regardless of the drop in revenue, the company managed to outperform against the industry average of 9.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 2.7%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is very high at 3.24 and currently higher than the industry average, implying increased risk associated with the management of debt levels within the company.
  • Current return on equity is lower than its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of weakness within the company. Compared to other companies in the Industrial Conglomerates industry and the overall market, GENERAL ELECTRIC CO's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: GE Ratings Report

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