| March 10
March 10 General Electric Co.'s chief
said on Monday that there are signs the U.S. economy "is getting
a little better each day," although he does not expect a return
to the kind of growth seen in the 1990s anytime soon.
Jeff Immelt, chief executive officer of the industrial
conglomerate, also said Europe's economy has stabilized. "While
its expansion is anemic, the 'daily crises' have been
eliminated," he said in his annual letter to shareholders.
Immelt addressed the global economy in his letter, published
Monday. "Through the fog of the last five years, I would take
the 2014 economy any day," he wrote. "The recovery is slow, but
there are no major headwinds."
Immelt said pockets of Europe were "robust" for GE,
including Germany, the Nordic region and Central Europe.
He said China "has massive financial strength, and we see
its reform efforts as a positive."
GE's products include jet engines, gas turbines, oil pumps,
locomotives and MRI scanners.
Immelt described his company as the "the largest and most
profitable infrastructure company in the world," noting its more
than $100 billion in revenue. All told, GE's revenues exceed $1
billion in 24 countries.
As it focuses on its industrial businesses, GE is
de-emphasizing its GE Capital finance arm, including a spinoff
of its North American retail finance business, for which a
filing is expected later this month.
GE's stock was punished during the 2008 financial crisis
because of its exposure to the finance sector through GE
Capital. Immelt said GE has "repositioned GE Capital as a
smaller and safer specialty finance leader with less leverage
and more liquidity."
GE expects 70 percent of its earnings to come from
industrial businesses by 2016, Immelt said, up from about 55
percent last year.
The CEO said the company was putting significant effort into
simplifying its organization, including an expected reduction in
administrative overhead cost by $4 billion between 2012 and
After a strong run in 2013, GE shares are down 7 percent
this year, underperforming the broader U.S. market.