NEW YORK –- In its first step in a planned exit from the business in 2015, General Electric (IW 500/6) Thursday filed papers for an initial public offering for its North American retail finance unit.
The new publicly-traded vehicle will be known as Synchrony Financial and will house assets that includes GE's credit-card operation with such leading retailers as Wal-Mart Stores and Amazon, according to a securities filing.
GE has previously said it could issue up to 20% of the stake in the division. The filing said the money from the offering would go to pay down debt and to invest in new assets to expand its lending business.
GE's earnings from retail finance have been more volatile than manufacturing. Net earnings for the unit were $2.0 billion in 2013, down slightly from $2.1 billion the year earlier.
GE shares have also underperformed industrial companies like United Technologies and Honeywell International, which do not have finance arms.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2014