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General Electric's Energy Business Was a Surprising Bright Spot for Earnings

By Motley Fool Staff - May 2, 2016 at 3:23PM

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While the rest of the energy world continues to struggle, General Electric's balance of oil and gas and renewables made for a decent quarter.

The recent oil and gas crash hurt General Electric (GE -0.97%), along with pretty much everyone in the space.

In this clip from the Industry Focus: Energy podcast, Sean O'Reilly talks to Tyler Crowe about a few of the innovative strategies GE has been employing even during the downtimes that set them up nicely for growth when the sector recovers.

A full transcript follows the video.

This podcast was recorded on April 22, 2016. 

Sean O'Reilly: Obviously, talking about oil for the past 18 months has been -- I don't want to call it depressing, but I don't have a better word. Mining is not doing so hot. Are there any companies in the energy/industrials space that might make one hopeful of the future?

Tyler Crowe: I think one that looks pretty interesting not from an oil and gas but from an overall energy perspective, if you look at the whole space. I really have been impressed with what has been going on at General Electric. Obviously, oil and gas has been getting hammered, just like everybody else. No shock there. But they're doing some very interesting things in the oil and gas segment, and they're also getting some better results from across the board. If you look at their renewable segment, which is something they just started breaking out in their earnings, you have a renewables segment that brought in $1.6 billion in quarterly revenue, which is 66% greater than what we saw in the previous year. Part of that had to do with the Alstom acquisition that they made back last year, basically buying wind turbine and other power generating facilities.

O'Reilly: They were already a big player in wind turbines even before that.

Crowe: Right, so you add Alstom to that and you've got a huge wind, and they have some solar. Again, some interesting things they're doing in oil and gas. They even mentioned it in their release. They have done a new model when it comes to oil and gas equipment manufacturing with rig company Diamond Offshore (DO). Basically, GE has provided all of the blowout preventers. It's a major piece of equipment that is one of the bottlenecks of the oil and gas drilling industry. This thing has to run perfectly. It has to go on scheduled maintenance, and there's a lot of downtime associated with it. Anytime there's downtime, you're not making any money.

What they have done is that they have bought back all their blowout preventers from Diamond Offshore, which had originally been purchased, and now are leasing them to them. The goal of this for Diamond Offshore is, GE has some skin in the game. They want to be better about maintenance and keeping it operating. They get incentive bonuses based on getting better performance metrics than they already have. In exchange, GE gets a reoccurring revenue rather than a straight sale. Over the long term, that asset becomes more valuable. If it can pull levers like that in the oil and gas industry, while at the same time seeing this huge boom in other sections such as renewables, GE is looking very impressive at least on the energy side of its business.

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General Electric Company Stock Quote
General Electric Company
$65.24 (-0.97%) $0.64
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Diamond Offshore Drilling, Inc.

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