General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE), Gentleman's C CEO Jeff Immelt, is close to selling GE Plastics to Saudi Arabia's largest public company, the Saudi Basic Industries Corporation. You'll remember Saudi Arabia as the supplier of 15 of the 19 9/11 mass murderers.
But Immelt is going to collect $11 billion and dump an under- performing unit where both he and his predecessor Jack Welch worked. Competition and price increases in raw materials have squeezed profit margins, even though GE Plastics increased product prices. For 2006, the division reported $6.6 billion in revenue -- about the same as in 2005 and its profit fell 22% to $674 million.
The deal raises national security concerns but investors seem to like it a little -- GE is up 1% in early trading.