GE's Immelt: Appliance Deal Likely By Early 2009

The Chairman and CEO of General Electric says he expects the company will sell or spin off its Louisville-based appliance division in early 2009, and possibly sooner.

Company head Jeff Immelt says a transaction would likely occur during the first quarter of next year, but it could move faster if market conditions are right.

“This is a preeminent brand, it’s a preeminent asset, it has the highest operating profit rate in the world. you’ve got a time when the dollar is weak and other  currencies are strong.     Most of the potential buyers are outside the United States, ” Immelt said.

He  spoke Wednesday at a company conference in Florida that was streamed on  GE’s website.

He says GE is looking carefully at the possibility of spinning off the appliance business into a separate shareholder entity.

About five thousand people work at the company’s Appliance Park in Louisville.