UK Markets open in 3 hrs 39 mins

GE HealthCare rises 8% in market debut, eyes small deals

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence visits a GE Healthcare manufacturing facility in Madison

By Leroy Leo and Kannaki Deka

(Reuters) -GE HealthCare Technologies Inc's shares rose as much as 8.4% in their Nasdaq debut on Wednesday and its chief executive said the company was looking to do small acquisitions to boost its cardiology and oncology operations in the long term.

The company, which was spun off from conglomerate GE, had opened 3% lower in its first day of trading and closed up 8% at $60.49.

GE HealthCare has been a bright spot for GE recently and its new management plans to build on that momentum as an independent entity. GE will still own 19.9% of the unit.

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

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 rose 5% 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 is scheduled to release its fourth-quarter results on Jan. 30.

Its enterprise value-to-operating profit ratio at listing was roughly 40% lower than rival Siemens Healthineers, 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.

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