General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) was a big loser on Monday after the company announced that it would be scaling back its dividend and making some changes to its model. The stock continued to push lower in Tuesday’s session, hitting a multiyear low and allowing more companies to pass it in market cap.
GE’s market cap was last seen at roughly $158 billion, which is fairly big and ranks among the 50 largest public companies in the world. However, GE was overtaken by one of its main competitors, Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM). Toyota boasts a market cap of roughly $188 billion, putting it squarely ahead of GE.
While cutting the dividend seemed like the catalyst for this drop, it was really just the final straw. The reduction in the dividend, from $0.24 per quarter to $0.12, is the first since 2009, the depths of the financial crisis. Not only that, but GE might have some planned divestures to make the company more profitable as well.
In the press release of the dividend cut, CEO John Flannery said:
We understand the importance of this decision to our shareowners and we have not made it lightly. We are focused on driving total shareholder return and believe this is the right decision to align our dividend payout to cash flow generation.
The dividend remains an important component of GE’s capital allocation framework. With this action and others that we will be discussing this morning, we are acting with urgency to make GE simpler and stronger to drive growth and create more value for our shareowners.
Shares of GE were last seen down more than 4% at $18.20, with a consensus analyst price target of $25.33 and a 52-week range of $18.57 to $32.38.
Toyota recently traded at $124.97 a share. It has a 52-week range of $103.62 to $128.11 and a consensus price target of $122.33.