(Bloomberg) -- General Electric Co. said its second-quarter cash burn will worsen to as much as $4.5 billion as the troubled manufacturer struggles to keep its turnaround efforts on pace amid disruptions from Covid-19.
The company’s jet-engine business faces a “slow grind” as travel demand collapses, Chief Executive Officer Larry Culp said at a Bernstein conference Thursday. The company’s forecast that it will consume $3.5 billion to $4.5 billion of its cash reserves compares with the $2.98 billion average of analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
“Losing that much money adds meaningfully to GE’s elevated net leverage burden and comes at a time when other multi-industry companies are generating substantial amounts of free cash flow,” John Inch, an analyst at Gordon Haskett, said in a note to clients.
The novel coronavirus pandemic is complicating Culp’s efforts to turn around GE after one of the deepest slumps in the company’s 118-year history. While the company’s medical-scanner business is showing signs of a rebound, the jet-engine division faces weaker demand and the power-equipment unit will take longer than expected to recover, Culp said.
GE fell 3% to $7.07 at 12:56 p.m. in New York. Shares had declined 35% this year through Wednesday.
Earlier this month, GE said it would cut about 13,000 jobs from the jet-engine operation, saying the “deep contraction of commercial aviation is unprecedented.” On Thursday, the company offered more detail on its plan to save more than $2 billion of cash in its aviation unit through measures including job cuts, furloughs and reductions in capital spending.
However, the CEO also struck a resolute note. While Covid-19 has delayed GE’s plan for a return to growth, it hasn’t thrown it off course, Culp said.
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