GE to Sell Wayne?

Conglomerate said to be preparing to sell fuel-dispenser unit

Wayne GE

AUSTIN, Texas --General Electric Co. may be shopping its Wayne fuel dispenser subsidiary, according to a Reuters report.

GE is getting ready to sell Austin, Texas-based Wayne, a manufacturer of petroleum fuel and compressed natural gas (CNG) dispensers and other fueling equipment, in a deal anticipated to bring in more than $500 million, said the news agency. Anonymous sources told Reuters that GE has recently reached out to private-equity firms and other parties to determine their interest.

Wayne's product line includes Ovation, Global and Vista series fuel dispensers, Nucleus retail point-of-sale (POS) systems, pumpside payment systems, the inOvationTV pumpside media platform, as well as automatic tank gauges, fuel meters and components.

According to the report, Credit Suisse Group is advising GE on the sale. Representatives from GE and Credit Suisse declined to comment to the news agency; CSP Daily News reached out to Wayne, which also declined, noting the company does not comment on speculation or rumors.

Wayne, which was founded in 1891, used to be part of Dresser Inc., which GE acquired in 2010. The $3 billion deal was GE's largest since the financial crisis, the Reuters report said, adding that GE is seeking to become a big player in equipment and services to the energy sector, including oil, natural gas and alternative energy providers. The Wayne fuel dispenser business "is at the low-end of GE's energy offerings and is not a core interest," the report said.

GE is also looking to streamline its GE Capital division, and it is expected to file an IPO by the end of March for up to 20% of its North American retail finance business, according to the report, as the first stage in a two-part process to split off the business.

Reuters cited GE's planned sale of Wayne as another example of diversified conglomerates selling off noncore assets. Private-equity firms have "shown a strong appetite for units being carved out of companies, seeking to avoid frothy auctions for publicly listed companies as markets rallied," the report said.