GE's 'Resurrection' Remains on Track. That's Good News for the Stock. -- Barrons.com
By Teresa Rivas
General Electric stock (ticker: GE) is following the market lower on Monday, but William Blair argues that the company's improved culture of accountability is already bearing fruit -- and will continue to support more share gains.
The back story. GE shares have climbed more than 28% year to date, helped by new management, ongoing debt reduction, and asset sales -- moves that for many investors have overshadowed some of the lingering problems that hurt the stock so significantly in recent years.
What's new. On Monday, William Blair analyst Nicholas Heymann reiterated an Outperform rating on GE, following his recent meetings with some of the company's management team. Those meetings increased his confidence that the company is seeing "accelerating operational and financial progress," he writes.
"GE's resurrection remains solidly on track," he added.
He notes that GE Power's overall profitability is still on the upswing, which should help buoy the shares further, and is a hallmark of CEO Larry Culp's leadership, which has focused on business costs.
Looking ahead. Heymann believes GE could potentially be fairly valued around $14 to $16 a share in the next year, helped in large part by changes at GE Power. The grid business, previously part of GE Power, is now part of its Renewables business, which removed a layer of management at GE Power and made the unit more accountable, he writes.
He also likes that Culp has required GE Power's senior management to "possess a crystal-clear strategy on how to win in its markets and very specific operating priorities that can be tracked and measured on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis," in contrast to past operating procedure that only required monitoring on a quarterly and annual basis.
All this has led to a transformation, in which GE Power's "culture today has become one that stresses candor with humility and substantive transparency of what issues need to be achieved and resolved and what the specific progress in accomplishing these goals has been."