General Electric has announced that it intends to strategically downsize its business by concentrating on just three key sectors: aviation, healthcare and energy. These are profitable areas for GE – unlike its transportation, industrial, and lighting activities, all of which are expected to be shut down or sold off.
GE registered consolidated revenues of $33.5 billion in Q3 of 2017, up 14 percent. Lighting contributed just $483 million to that, and lighting revenues were down by fully 16 percent.
GE can trace its involvement in lighting back to 1879 and Thomas Edison’s first commercially practical incandescent lamp, a business which became the precursor to GE’s formation in 1892. But in the last 10 years lighting has become less important to the business mix, and recently it has been GE’s least profitable business unit.
In 2015 GE had separated energy-related operations, including commercial LEDs, into a new division called Current, while its GE Lighting division with consumer LED bulbs and connected-home products. This summer it became clear that GE was looking for a buyer for its consumer lighting business; now it seems that Current will also be sold off.
John Flannery, GE’s new chairman and CEO, had said before the announcement that the group would cut off business units worth more than $20 billion possibly in the following two years.Flannery, who took over as CEO on 1 August, explained the plans are intended to make the company simpler and stronger; he said he was “looking for the soul of the company again” and would focus on “restoring the oxygen of cash and earnings to the company”.