The news feeds are all a-flutter this week about how General Electric
I'm sure it's only a coincidence that GE's purchase price for Converteam ($3.2 billion) precisely equals the amount of the tax refund check the IRS cut it last year. Still, it's a happy coincidence. Because, as you may recall, GE was supposed to be out of the energy investment business by now.
It said so, plain as day, just last month. After buying Dresser for $3 billion, laying out $1.3 billion more to acquire Wellstream Holdings, and swiping John Wood Group from under the nose of Halliburton
The rest of GE's $30 billion war chest, earmarked for acquisitions, would be funneled into other ventures -- such as the $1.6 billion it paid for from Citigroup
Old habits are the hardest to break
Silly me. Given an extra $3.2 billion to play with, GE headed straight back to its old stomping grounds, and has bought itself another energy concern. There is something a bit different about Converteam, though. Unlike GE's other energy investments, this one's not an exclusively oil-and-gas play, but also a maker of power conversion equipment for the renewable power industry. Windmills, hydropower -- that's Converteam's real attraction, and it's an industry GE is well familiar with.
Importantly, GE is now backtracking on its "mission accomplished" statement, saying it's still looking for "good opportunities" in the energy industry -- and over on Fool.com, investors are starting to wonder if a power-line manufacturer like American Superconductor