GE spinoff Synchrony Financial flat after initial public offering

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Shares of Synchrony Financial barely moved Thursday in their debut on the New York Stock Exchange, but that’s a better outcome than the broader markets which plunged.

The credit card company raised $2.88 billion, selling 125 million shares at $23 each.

That makes it the largest initial public offerings of the year so far, according to data provider Dealogic.

The Stamford, Connecticut, company is a spinoff of conglomerate General Electric Co. Following the IPO, GE will own 84.9 per cent of Synchrony’s common stock.

The spinoff is part of GE’s plan to shrink its financial unit GE Capital. GE has been focusing more on industrial products like jet engines, medical equipment and oil and gas drilling equipment.

The IPO “furthers our goal to position GE Capital as a smaller, safer specialty finance leader,” said CEO Jeff Immelt.

Synchrony provides store credit cards for retailers, such as Wal-Mart, J.C. Penney and It also operates an online bank, which it is expanding to increase deposits and use the money to fund its credit business.

Shares of Synchrony, which are listed on the NYSE under the symbol “SYF,” closed unchanged at $23, after rising to $24 earlier. That compares with U.S. stocks which posted their worst one-day drop since February on worries about weak corporate earnings and the looming end of economic stimulus from the Federal Reserve.

At least eight other companies began trading Thursday after launching IPOs, including drugmaker Catalent, deep-water rig owner Transocean Partners and health care account manager HealthEquity

Shares of Catalent Inc., which are listed on the NYSE under the symbol “CTLT,” fell 51 cents, or 2.5 per cent, to close at $19.99. Shares of Transocean Partners LLC, listed on the NYSE under the symbol “RIGP,” jumped $2.30, or 10.5 per cent, to $24.30. And shares of HealthEquity Inc. soared $3.60, or 26 per cent, to $17.60. They are listed on the Nasdaq exchange under the symbol “HQY.”