General Electric made its painful dividend cut official on Friday, with the company's board of directors authorizing the payout to be cut to just a penny a share.
GE first announced in late October it would be slashing the quarterly dividend to 1 cent a share, the second dividend cut announcement this year for the beleaguered company, which was once treasured by regular shareholders for its payout. That decision is one of the many reasons the stock is down by nearly 60 percent this year.
GE chairman and CEO Larry Culp is trying to free up cash to save the once-venerable company while acknowledging that regular investors have fled the stock because of the drastic move. GE traded above $10 a share before the cut. Even with the stock's slide, Culp said GE "would make those same decisions today, because those were the right decision to make sure the company is facing forward."
Many analysts on Wall Street have warned clients that Culp's cut may be just the beginning of a slow and difficult process.
Shares of GE closed down 4.6 percent on Friday, ending just above $7 a share. The dividend is payable on Jan. 25 to shareholders at the close of business Dec. 20.