April 20, 2018 / 2:07 PM / a year ago

GE still mulls breakup, confirms distributed power unit for sale

NEW YORK (Reuters) - General Electric Co (GE.N) said on Friday it was still considering a potential breakup of the 126-year-old industrial conglomerate, but such a move was secondary to running its businesses better.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of General Electric is seen at its plant in Baden, Switzerland November 15, 2017. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo

Boston-based GE is divesting about $20 billion in assets in an effort to reduce costs and boost profits as part of a three-year restructuring plan under Chief Executive Officer John Flannery, who took over Aug. 1.

The company on Friday reported adjusted earnings that beat expectations, sending shares higher, though some analysts saw GE’s relatively weak unadjusted results as more telling.

Asked about a potential break-up, Flannery said the company is considering all options, but is focused on ensuring the businesses perform well.

“There’s no sacred cows,” he said on a conference call with analysts. “We are reviewing a number of structures. We are working through this right now in great detail with the board.”

He promised investors an update “in the next couple of months.”

GE shareholders are due to vote on board members next week.

GE said on Friday it had decided to sell its distributed power business and may be able to announce a deal by mid-year, confirming an earlier Reuters report.

The business, which includes GE’s Jenbacher and Waukesha lines of reciprocating gas engines, is attracting strong interest from potential buyers, GE said. Reuters reported in February that GE was considering a sale of the business, which could be worth $2 billion.

Separately, GE was exploring merging its transportation business, which makes locomotives, with Wabtec Corp (WAB.N), a U.S. maker of equipment for the rail industry, a person familiar with the matter said.

GE is considering the deal as one of several alternatives for the transportation business, including a potential spin-off, and no decision has been taken, the source said, asking not to be identified discussing confidential discussions.

GE and Wabtec did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Bloomberg News first reported on the talks.

Additional reporting by Greg Roumeliotis in New York; Editing by Nick Zieminski and David Gregorio

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