Will GE Find Money in This New Focus on Service?

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With the economy a little less steady than, say, 2007, General Electric Co. (NYSE:GE) is seeking ways to boost its profit margins and fare the seas with a little more comfort. One method it’s toying with is adding a little focus to service, particularly for industrial equipment. With GE pulling in $42 billion in service revenue, nearly half its sales revenue, the company has pretty good reason to believe an increased service push will do them good.

The service push wouldn’t benefit GE alone — it wouldn’t be service if it did. GE suggests that its services could save companies loads, claiming that the global aviation industry could save nearly $30 billion if GE helps them cut fuel use by just 1 percent.

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GE has hopes to see its service revenue grow over the next few years, reaching up to $60 billion with a service backlog of up to $175 billion. Among the first in line for GE’s new services are AirAsia Bhd, Norfolk Southern Corp. (NYSE:NSC), and Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT).

Concerns over the fiscal cliff remain as GE sails closer to the edge. But GE Chief Financial Officer Keith Sherin is hopeful that some resolution will be reached in time to address some of the issues and add a little time to work out the rest, but he doesn’t think everything will be resolved by year’s end.

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