GE CEO says company needs to reduce debt 'thoughtfully and soon'

GE CEO says company needs to reduce debt 'thoughtfully and soon'
FILE PHOTO: The logo of U.S. conglomerate General Electric is pictured at the company's site of its energy branch in Belfort, France, February 5, 2019. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler   -  Copyright  VINCENT KESSLER(Reuters)
By Reuters

(Reuters) – General Electric Co is targeting dividend in line with peers and needs to reduce its debt “thoughtfully and soon”, Chief Executive Officer Lawrence Culp said in a letter to shareholders on Tuesday.

The company said on Monday it would sell its biopharma business to Danaher Corp for $21.4 billion in the biggest strategy reversal since Culp took over as the industrial conglomerate’s CEO in September.

“We have more options available to us down the line to generate cash to help bring down our leverage, including our remaining interests in Baker Hughes and Wabtec Corporation and continued flexibility for our go-forward Healthcare business,” Culp wrote in the letter

Culp has been planning asset sales to urgently reduce heavy debt and restore profits at the 126-year-old, Boston-based conglomerate. The company said it has reduced its stake in oil-services firm Baker Hughes and will sell nearly half of its healthcare unit.

(Reporting by Uday Sampath and Ankur Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Shinjini Ganguli)

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