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Analysts pan GE restructuring, CEO 'needed to do more'

  • GE didn't really explain why they want to keep the businesses together that they're keeping together, said SSR LLC's Graham Copley.
  • GE said on Monday it's going to be "a more focused industrial company," concentrating on health care, aviation and energy.
  • Scott Davis said CEO John Flannery should have cut costs to a greater extent.

General Electric announced an aggressive restructuring and a 50 percent dividend cut on Monday, but CEO John Flannery needed to do more, analysts told CNBC.

The company is going to be "a more focused industrial company," Flannery said at the company's investor day Monday, concentrating on health care, aviation and energy.

Shares of the industrial conglomerate plunged 7 percent on the news.

"They didn't really explain why they want to keep the businesses together that they're keeping together," said Graham Copley, head of industrials and materials research at SSR LLC.

"They talked about the company being too complex, but they really haven't set out a plan to make it any less complex. So I think there's a lot of doubt cast as to what this company can really earn, not just in '18 but '19 as well," he told "Closing Bell" on Monday.

General Electric Chief Executive Officer John Flannery presents the company's new strategy and financial targets to investors at a meeting in New York, November 13, 2017.
Alwyn Scott | Reuters
General Electric Chief Executive Officer John Flannery presents the company's new strategy and financial targets to investors at a meeting in New York, November 13, 2017.

GE also announced it now sees adjusted earnings for the year ahead of $1 to $1.07 a share and free cash flow still at significantly reduced levels of $6 billion to $7 billion, which it pledged to improve.

Scott Davis, CEO of Melius Research, said he doesn't think the businesses GE is focusing on should be together.

"[Flannery] needed to announce something bigger," he said in an interview with "Closing Bell."

"He needs to cut costs to a much greater extent than what he announced today, and he needs to be accountable for where the share price is trading now. He's been 100 days on the job, and it's been straight down for 100 days," he added.

However, Morningstar analyst Barbara Noverini said she thinks GE made the right choice by retaining health care, power and energy.

"There is still a collection of assets here that under better management should be able to return to a much healthier free cash-flow generation ability over the long run," she said in an interview with "Power Lunch."

Copley thinks the only way to make the company less complex is to break it into much more substantial pieces.

"You sell the pieces you can sell, frankly, rather than try to create something on paper to begin with. If there's a good price for the health-care business, sell it. If aviation has a good public market value, spin it out and see what you're left with," he said.

— CNBC's Jeff Cox contributed to this report.