GE says first-quarter revenue declined 8%, expects this quarter to be worse because of pandemic

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General Electric reported Wednesday a steep declines in first-quarter revenue and earnings as the industrial giant took a hit amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

The company posted a total revenue of $20.524 billion, which represents a year-over-year decline of 8%. GE Industrial profits fell 46% year over year to $1.096 billion from $2.017 billion. On an adjusted per-share basis, the company earned 5 cents. That’s below a Refinitiv estimate of 8 cents per share. 

“The impact from COVID-19 materially challenged our first-quarter results, especially in Aviation, where we saw a dramatic decline in commercial aerospace as the virus spread globally in March,” CEO Larry Culp said in a statement. 

General Electric’s aviation business saw revenue fall by 13% to $6.892 billion on a year-over-year basis, with profit tumbling 39% to $1.005 billion from $1.66 billion. Orders also declined by 14%. The company’s power and renewable energy businesses also saw revenues decline in the first quarter.

Larry Culp, CEO, General Electric

Scott Mlyn | CNBC

GE’s health care segment, however, saw revenues expand by 7% to $5.292 billion and profit grow to $896 million from $781 million in the year-earlier period. The company cited “surge demand for products used in the diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19.”

Culp said the company is eyeing cost cuts of more than $2 billion along with $3 billion in cash preservation to cushion the coronavirus blow. GE’s earnings release also indicated the industrial giant expects this quarter to be worse than the first. 

“The second quarter will be the first full quarter with pressure from COVID-19, and GE expects that its financial results will decline sequentially,” GE said.

Shares of General Electric traded 2.2% lower in the premarket. 

GE shares have lost about 40% of their value this year as the coronavirus pandemic has brought global economic activity to a screeching halt. 

The company announced earlier this month its cash and cash-equivalent holdings topped more than $47 billion along with a revolving debt facility of $15 billion to ride out the virus-induced downturn.

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