Thursday, October 15, 2009

Immelt’s Plans May Comfort Investors as Profit Falls (GE)

The stock is trading down twenty cents with both the DJIA and S&P marginally green. GE reports Q3 numbers Friday, pre-market.
From Bloomberg:
General Electric Co., poised to report the lowest quarterly earnings per share in 11 years, may still satisfy investors with progress in paring non-industrial businesses including finance and NBC Universal.

Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Immelt promised in April to position GE for “a reset world” after the global financial crisis and recession. GE shares have almost tripled from an intraday low of $5.73 in March as he trimmed GE Capital and emphasized businesses like power generation. GE is preparing to reduce its stake in NBC Universal in a deal with Comcast Corp. and may divest the media unit entirely in seven years.

“You’ll eventually see something like your grandfather’s GE,” said Joel Levington, the director who tracks GE for Brookfield Investment Management Inc. in New York. That means trimming finance and focusing on industrial units, and “they’re taking some steps to do that with the potential sale” of NBC....MORE

Here's Mr. Immelt's June '09 speech (video) to the Detroit Economic Club: "Winning in a Reset World" (11 page PDF)

Mr. Immelt had previously used the term at the April annual meeting and before that in March "Pt. I:: GE and the Enron Playbook (ENE; GE)":

...But then Immelt revealed another reason why GE has been so successful over the years. He said:

It's never been a free market; it's never gonna be a free market. That's just the way it is....MORE
Here he is in our March 5 post "GE Finance Chief Says Market Fears ‘Overdone’ (GE)":

Seventeen months into the bear market, I may have lost it.
I saw that headline and the first thought that pops into my head is the title of Lynda Obst's book,
"Hello, he lied".

When GE joined the US Climate Action Partnership, with their bald-faced rent-seeking, I chalked it up to the machinations of folks not creative enough to compete without perverting the political system.

When GE lobbied for the incandescent light bulb ban (which bulbs were manufactured in the U.S.), their replacement being compact fluorescent bulbs manufactured in China, I thought "these people are scum".

When they applied for (and received) a grant from the state of Connecticut to install GE solar panels on GE headquarters*, I thought "Okay, lower than scum".

When I saw this, from Mr. Immelt (via Environmental Capital):

I believe we are going through more than a cycle. The global economy, and capitalism, will be “reset” in several important ways.

The interaction between government and business will change forever. In a reset economy, the government will be a regulator; and also an industry policy champion, a financier, and a key partner […] I think this environment presents an opportunity of a lifetime....
I realized these people are nothing but fascists and it was time to stop being charitable.

Here's the headline story from the New York Times' DealBook blog.
Here's another quote that came to mind, we last saw it in our post "10 Ways the World Could End and How to Play Them":
"He lied like a finance minister on the eve of a devaluation"
-Warren Buffett
I'm thinking it might be a good idea to read up on Mussolini for tips on making money off the corporativismo....
Parts II and III.