November 12, 2018 / 3:29 PM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-GE chief Culp says need to cut debt urgently, shares fall

(Adds quotes, share move)

Nov 12 (Reuters) - General Electric Co Chief Executive Officer Larry Culp said on Monday the company was saddled with too much debt and would urgently sell assets to reduce levels of leverage, sending its shares down as much as 8 percent.

“We have no higher priority right now than bringing leverage levels down,” Culp said in an interview with CNBC. “We have plenty of opportunity to do that through asset sale.”

GE’s third-quarter results late last month posted a staggering loss of $22.8 billion, cut its dividend to just 1 cent per share and told investors it was facing a deepening federal accounting probe.

Analysts from major Wall Street brokerages have also cast doubts on the company’s liquidity since and slashed their target prices for the stock, spurring more sales of the U.S. industrial conglomerate’s shares.

“We have no plans for an equity raise,” Culp also told CNBC, dismissing concerns about liquidity issues.

Before Monday’s falls, stock in GE was already down almost 50 percent this year. Shares were down 6.6 percent at $8.01 an hour after the opening bell on Wall Street. (Reporting by Rachit Vats in Bengaluru Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Patrick Graham)

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