GE Healthcare heads back to an independent future

Having looked like it was undergoing death by a thousand cuts, General Electric has instead plumped for death by two big ones. The conglomerate is to split into three public companies, separately focused on healthcare, aviation and energy. GE Healthcare will be the first to go, with a spin out planned for early 2023; the parent company will retain a 19.9% stake. An independent GE Healthcare has been mooted for years, and it almost happened in 2019 before the group decided to sell off its biopharma unit-within-a-unit instead (GE Healthcare float sunk in favour of Danaher deal, February 25, 2019). In 2020, GE Healthcare’s revenue just topped $18bn, down 10% on 2019 largely due to the coronavirus pandemic. GE said that today’s dramatic move builds on its relatively strong financial position: it has cut its gross debt by more that $75bn since 2018. Shareholders appeared happy with the notion of new companies both more focused and more flexible than a single conglomerate, with GE’s stock climbing 6% in early trade. 

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