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GE CEO Culp likely to break up and sell pieces of the struggling power business, RBC says

Key Points
  • GE is "likely to pursue sales of businesses within Power," RBC analyst Deane Dray says in a note.
  • RBC picked GE as the industrial company "most likely to execute a stock-moving divestiture" or spinoff this year.
  • If GE does look to sell the businesses, Dray expects "healthy demand."
Larry Culp, CEO, General Electric
Scott Mlyn | CNBC

General Electric reorganized its struggling power business as one of Larry Culp's first moves as CEO, but RBC believes the changes to the unit have only just begun.

GE is likely to pursue sales of individual power businesses, including steam, nuclear and power conversion, RBC analyst Deane Dray said in a note Tuesday. "We believe that GE's endgame is to shrink Power down to just the core gas turbine equipment and services platforms that have technology overlaps with Aviation."

RBC picked GE as the industrial company "most likely to execute a stock-moving divestiture" or spinoff this year. GE is facing a tough year, lead by problems in power. But Culp has given shareholders long-term optimism about the company's fortunes, saying earlier this month that the power business "is in a serious turnaround mode."

In the company's third-quarter earnings report, the first under Culp, GE announced it would reorganize the power business into two divisions: a gas products and services unit and the remaining power units. The latter power portfolio consists of the steam, electric grid, power conversion and nuclear energy. RBC estimates those four businesses have annual revenue of $2 billion, $5 billion, $1 billion and $500 million, respectively.

"It is our position that all of the remaining businesses in Power Portfolio have been deemed non-core and are likely being evaluated for future divestitures," Dray said.

If GE does look to sell the businesses, Dray expects "healthy demand."

"Ultimately, we believe that management's endgame is to shrink its Power businesses down to just the core gas turbine platforms that have strategic linkages and shared technologies with its Aviation segment," Dray said.

GE's stock was down 1 percent Wednesday morning.

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General Electric CEO Larry Culp says he is focused on deleveraging