GE stock drops as profit misses, CEO cuts forecast

GE stock drops as profit misses, CEO cuts forecast

Daniel Becerril

NEW YORK (Reuters) - General Electric Co's third-quarter profit missed Wall Street estimates by a wide margin on Friday and the industrial conglomerate slashed its earnings forecast, sending the year's worst-performing Dow stock down another 6 percent.

The results signaled the depth of problems confronting new Chief Executive John Flannery as he tries to make the 125-year-old company more consistently profitable. GE recently gave a board seat to activist investor Trian Fund Management, and Flannery is due to reveal his restructuring plan and reset financial targets on Nov. 13.

"We're still waiting for his blueprint," said Deane Dray, analyst at RBC Capital Markets. He said GE's financials will take a back seat to cost cutting, dividends, earnings quality and portfolio changes expected to be part of Flannery's plan.

GE reported adjusted profit of 29 cents a share compared with the 49 cents a share analysts had expected, according to a consensus of estimates from Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

GE cut its profit forecast for the full year to $1.05 to $1.10 a share, from $1.60 to $1.70 previously, and said it would generate about $7 billion in cash from operations, down from $12 billion to $14 billion it had forecast earlier. It left its dividend unchanged.

GE shares, part of the Dow Jones Industrial Average <.dji>, were down 6.7 percent at $22.00 in premarket trading.

GE said weak performance in its power and oil and gas businesses, goodwill impairment and higher-than-expected restructuring costs were the main causes of the profit decline.

GE's "solid" performance in other businesses "was offset by a decline in power performance in a difficult market," Flannery said. Industrial cash flow from operations fell mainly "because of lower power volume, resulting in lower earnings and higher inventory.”

Profit at GE's power business, which makes power plants and related equipment, fell 51 percent in the quarter.

Excluding items, industrial cash flows from operating activities was $1.74 billion in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, down from $2.90 billion, a year earlier.

The company reported a 14.4-percent rise in revenue to $33.47 billion, boosted by the acquisition of oilfield services provider Baker Hughes .

(Reporting by Alwyn Scott in New York and Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru; Editing by Martina D'Couto and Nick Zieminski)

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