|By JONATHAN FAHEY, AP Business Writer|
The company is selling the division that invented the toaster in 1905 and now sells refrigerators, stoves and laundry machines. GE has increasingly focused on building industrial machines such as aircraft engines, locomotives, gas-fired turbines and medical imaging equipment — much bigger and more complex than washers, and more profitable.
"They are no longer going to be a consumer company," says
GE, based in
GE has sold devices to people for its entire 122-year history, starting with the light bulb, which was invented by company founder
The company is hoping to return to favor among investors with higher, more consistent and more predictable profits.
GE is the only remaining member of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, first calculated in 1896, and as recently as 2004 it was the biggest corporation in the world by market value. But GE has frustrated shareholders by underperforming both the Dow and broader stock indexes for much of the last decade.
The company has been able to survive by shuffling its portfolio to shed unprofitable divisions or jump into a new, growing sector. And it has never shied away from abandoning historic businesses, like the plastics unit it started in 1912 and sold in 2007.
The latest version of GE will make mostly big, complex equipment, some of which it has been making for more than a century, like power generators, and some that is new to GE, like oil and gas drilling equipment.
In July the company spun off its consumer credit card business into a new company,
In June GE agreed to buy the energy and power generation operations of the French engineering company
"It's still GE, it's still huge," says Glynn, an analyst at
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