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David Herro and Bill Nygren Comments on General Electric

- By Holly LaFon

General Electric (NYSE:GE), a U.S.-based global producer of industrial, household and medical goods, was the largest detractor for the quarter and for the fiscal year. Plainly said, our investment in GE has been a disappointment. Over the past year, the company has announced a large legacy insurance reserve charge, had significant problems in its Power division and has replaced many executives. Management has been adjusting the portfolio of businesses, spinning off and selling a number of assets in order to achieve appropriate capital returns and cash flows. Although these changes take time, we believe this approach will ultimately benefit shareholders. On October 1, GE announced the immediate departure of CEO John Flannery, replacing him with former Danaher CEO Larry Culp. In the announcement, the company also withdrew 2018 guidance due to underperformance in the Power division, writing down nearly all of the division's $24 billion in goodwill. Despite the reduced guidance and goodwill write-down, the stock was up 7%. We believe that investors reacted favorably to Culp's appointment because of his extensive experience in the industrial sector and his credibility among long-time analysts. GE has been a very frustrating holding. However, we continue to remain shareholders because we believe the stock has declined more than warranted and that its intrinsic value is well above the current quote.

From David Herro (Trades, Portfolio)'s third quarter 2018 Oakmark Global Select Fund commentary.

This article first appeared on GuruFocus.