GE to Restate Earnings, Further Damaging Relationship With Wall Street

The stock price of General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) has fallen by 51% in the past year as the company’s results have disintegrated, its longtime CEO has departed and future results are expected to be dreadful. GE has announced, as part of its 10-Q filing for the most recently reported quarter, that it will need to restate 2016 and 2017 results.

The conglomerate’s relationship with Wall Street, which could not get worse, just did.

GE disclosed:

We will adopt the new standard as of January 1, 2018. When we report our 2018 results, the comparative results for 2017 and 2016 will
be updated to reflect the application of the requirements of the new standard to these periods. Based on our assessment and best estimates to date, we expect a non-cash charge to our January 1, 2016 retained earnings balance of approximately $4.2 billion. We estimate that the charge will comprise approximately $1.0 billion related to commercial aircraft engines and $3.3 billion related primarily to our services businesses (predominately in Power and Aviation). Beyond those effects, we expect application of the new guidance will result in increases and decreases in revenue within our segments, which will largely offset overall and will be immaterial at a total company level. We estimate that our 2016 and 2017 restated earnings per share will be lower by approximately $0.13 and $0.16 (before any impact from U.S. tax reform), respectively, driven primarily by the required changes in accounting for long-term product service arrangements as described above. These estimates may be refined as we finalize the implementation effort required to adopt the standard. Upon adoption in 2018, our books and records will only reflect the results as required under the new standard limiting our ability to estimate the effect of the standard on our earnings. Given the inherent difficulty in this ongoing estimation of the effect of the standard on any future periods, we do not plan to continue to assess the effect on 2018.

New CEO John L. Flannery has slashed expenses, removed a number of top managers who served former CEO Jeff Immelt, and said he will concentrate on moving along a few of GE’s far-flung businesses. Many divisions he does not consider core to the company’s future will be sold. His plans have fallen on deaf ears among investors.

GE seemed quarters, or even years, away from regaining Wall Street’s trust. The period of that has been pushed out further as the company admits recent earning reports were flawed.

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