GE considers appliance division sale

May 17, 2008 at 10:18 AM

FAIRFIELD, Conn., May 17 (UPI) -- General Electric Co. is weighing the option of selling its 101-year-old appliance division, a longtime signature of the U.S. manufacturing giant.

Chief executive Jeffrey Immelt confirmed Friday the company was looking at the possibility of divesting its line of big-ticket appliance items such as air conditioners, refrigerators, clock radios and stoves, which have proven to be a drag on the company's earnings, The Los Angeles Times said.

"GE appliances has a very strong brand, great distribution, a talented leadership team and for more than 100 years, has been one of the icons associated with GE in the United States," Immelt said in a statement. "However, it remains primarily a U.S. business, meaning its fortunes are tied to the rise and fall of a single market."

GE reported a 5.9 percent decrease in quarterly earnings last month, which has resulted in pressure from shareholders to shed divisions that aren't growing quickly enough.

The company's appliances are one of the best-known U.S. consumer brands and a sale would rank among the most the momentous of brand name shifts, the newspaper said.

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