GE HealthCare shares rise 5% on market debut

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Jan 4 (Reuters) - Shares of GE HealthCare Technologies Inc rose 5% in their Nasdaq debut on Wednesday, following the company's spin-off from industrial conglomerate General Electric Co (GE.N).

The healthcare unit, owned 19.9% by GE after the spin-off, has been a bright spot for its parent in recent quarters and its new management plans to build on that momentum as an independent entity.

"I think I'd be disappointed if we didn't do some deals this year," Chief Executive Officer Peter Arduini told Reuters in an interview.

The company would look at various "tuck-in" acquisitions over the long term, Arduini said, with a few such small acquisitions expected to boost its cardiology- and oncology-related operations.

GE said in 2021 it would split into three public companies to simplify its business, pare down debt and breathe life into battered shares.

However, parts and labor shortages sent the conglomerate's stock down 11.3% in 2022. GE's shares were up 3.6% on Wednesday.

GE HealthCare will have four medical device businesses under its wings - imaging and ultrasound devices, patient care solutions and pharmaceutical diagnostics - with imaging being the largest.

For the year up to the third quarter ended Sept. 30, that business generated more than half of its total revenue of $13.4 billion.

GE HealthCare's enterprise value-to-operating profit ratio at listing was roughly 40% lower than rival Siemens Healthineers (SHLG.DE), which went public in March 2018.

"We would expect that this valuation gap would steadily shrink over time, benefiting GE Healthcare shareholders," William Blair analyst Nicholas Heymann said.

Shares of GE Healthcare, which is scheduled to release its fourth-quarter and full-year results on Jan. 30, were trading at $58.90 on the Nasdaq.

Reporting by Kannaki Deka and Leroy Leo in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath

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