General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) keeps selling financial assets. What may be different now versus in 2015 is that the size of each deal seems smaller and smaller. Investors and employees of GE may expect that the sales ahead will have to be smaller. After all, when a company is 90% or so through the process that happens.
GE announced on Monday that the conglomerate entered into separate agreements with three buyers to sell the bulk of GE Capital’s U.S. restaurant franchise financing assets. The combined transactions represent ending net investment of approximately $1.4 billion. All in all, this should release a collective $200 million of capital to GE.
All in all, GE Capital has signed agreements for approximately $180 billion since the start of 2015. It has closed upon approximately $156 billion of those announced sales. GE’s plans has been to sell roughly $200 billion of GE Capital businesses by the end of 2016. GE Capital is also expected to send approximately $35 billion of dividends to the GE parent company under these asset sales.
While these latest transactions are expected to close during the third quarter of 2016, each of the three buyers will acquire assets based on the regional headquarters location of the respective borrowers:
- First Horizon National Corporation will acquire assets in the Southwest and Southeast.
- Wintrust Financial Corporation will acquire assets in the Midwest and part of the West.
- Sterling National Bank will acquire assets in the East.
- The remainder of assets in the Western US will be sold separately.
GE is moving further and further towards a focus on being an industrial company. It continues to sell assets under the GE Capital unit, but GE has said that it plans to retain its key financing verticals that relate directly to its industrial businesses.
GE Capital Chairman and CEO Keith Sherin said:
As we continue to execute on our strategy to sell GE Capital’s assets that are not linked to GE, the sale of these restaurant financing assets represents our last major U.S. platform transaction. We are pleased to reach separate agreements with three strong buyers that will be able to continue to serve our customers and restaurant brands as they continue to grow.
This announcement was likely not enough to move the needle for such a large company. GE shares closed down $0.50 at $29.32 on Monday. Its 52-week range is $19.37 to $32.05, and GE has a consensus analyst price target of $32.53.