AP reports that General Electric Company (NYSE: GE) CEO Jeff Immelt did quite a bit of whining at today's shareholder meeting in Erie, PA. But he did announce one piece of news that might help GE's stock: GE will increase its planned cost cutting from $2 billion to $3 billion. Yet I think he's still smarting from Jack Welch's threat to shoot Immelt on GE's CNBC last week.
Immelt whined on two fronts: the tough economy and how his buying and selling of GE business units is not appreciated. Here's what he said about the economy: "We are in the toughest economy since 2001 and the worst housing crisis since the Depression. Banks have written off more than $250 billion. . . . Days of easy credit have turned into months of no credit at all. While I am confident about the economy long term, we could see even more difficult times ahead.">>>MORE
DealBreaker has the scoopage on the mood in Fairfield:
Cheaper Power! (Sorta).
Jeff Immelt: Ok, this gun thing with Jack is killing me. It's flashy enough and out there enough to make headlines, the story won't die and, while the phrase "If he misses again I'll get a gun and shoot him" is outlandish enough to be ignored if it came from any other personality, this is Jack fucking Welch here. Nothing he says seems crazy to the market. I'm so sick of everyone fawning over him. Look, I want some really serious ideas about how to address this. I want- hey. Wait a minute. Where is Linda?...
...JI: Right, that sounds good. I like that. What would you suggest?
VP: Well, oil prices are big in the headlines, we could piggyback off that.
JI: Perfect! What do you have in mind?
VP: Uh, making prices lower? Almost everyone likes low oil prices.
JI: I love it. Lower energy prices? GE can do that. That's doable. We can definitely lower energy prices. No problem.
VP: Well, we have to be careful. I mean, capital expenditure on new power generation is a big issue for us, you know.
VP: Uh, so, you need to be careful.
VP: Uh, by, uh....
JI: C'mon, c'mon. Imagination at work. Let's go. By... what?
VP: Getting congress involved?
JI: YES! They will gum everything up. Whatever we say will be meaningless in the pair of years it takes them to get their shit together.
JI: Start by pushing lawmakers to penalize power generation economically.
VP: Right. But, uh, how do we claim that will make for CHEAPER energy?
JI: Good point. We have to push the business to our high margin products. Well, how much does electricity cost nowadays? Penny a kilowatt or something?
VP: Ten cents per kilowatt hour, about.
JI: Ok, what about our dark panel project things. The expensive ones.
VP: Solar? That costs about twenty cents per kilowatt hour.
JI: Ok, announce we are going to push that down to fifteen. Put my name on it.
VP: Uh, how are we going to push that down exactly?
JI: C'mon, c'mon. Imagination at work. Let's go. Get it together.
VP: But that's a five cent per kilowatt hour raise in price. That is a huge increase.
JI: No, its a solar power cost DECREASE. Stick with the program. Ok, I want this all over by Thursday. GE calls for cheaper... cheaper CLEAN energy. Alright. Ok, that's all the working I can do today. I've got to go to a Robin Hood Foundation event. Call my car for me would you? Oh, and call Jack and tell him I had to go out of town suddenly. I really don't want him showing up at the last minute and sucking all the media away again like last year.
GE Calls for Cheaper, Cleaner Energy [CNNMoney]