NEW YORK (CNN/Money) -
Tyco International Ltd. scrapped plans Thursday to split into four separate businesses, saying instead it would cut 7,100 jobs and split off or sell its CIT financing unit to cope with a difficult business environment.
The company also reported a net loss of $1.9 billion for the latest quarter, including a $3.3 billion charge for restructuring and writing off losses, though its results, excluding those items, were about in line with recently lowered forecasts on Wall Street.
As part of its effort to streamline, Tyco will also close 24 plants, mainly in its electronics and telecommunications segments.
"At this point we are done," Brad McGee, a Tyco executive vice president told CNN/Money Thursday. "We're looking at today as a day when all the news is out on the table. We are a company that does match its footprint to conditions in the market, and if it were to deteriorate, we would take action. But we don't anticipate that happening."
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Separately, CIT Group Inc. formally filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission hours after the announcement Thursday for an initial public offering of nearly $7.2 billion. The company did not reveal a price range or the number of shares it will sell, but that information is expected in a future filing. The Tyco unit will trade as CIT on the NYSE. Goldman Sachs will serve as lead underwriter.
Tyco said it continues to talk to potential suitors interested in buying the business even though it moved to spin it off.
"What was difficult to anticipate was we underestimated the market psychology in the wake of Enron," McGee said. "We didn't anticipate the reactions of customers, investors and employees."
Tyco CEO Dennis Kozlowski called the plan to break up Tyco a "mistake," considering the sluggish economy, spending cutbacks and jitters on Wall Street over corporate accounting. He said the initial breakup plan announced in January was expected to boost the company's stock and address investor concerns about diversified companies with complex finances, like Tyco.
But Tyco's (TYC: down $5.15 to $20.75, Research, Estimates) stock is off about 65 percent from its 52-week high of $59.76 set on December 5, a month before its breakup announcement. Its shares sank another 19 percent following Thursday's announcement.
"By splitting up the company, we saw an opportunity to address these concerns and accelerate the creation of value for our shareholders. But we know now it was a mistake, and it is time for us to return our focus to what we do best," Kozlowski said in a statement.
At least one analyst said such backpedaling spooks investors, particularly about large, diverse companies in the wake of the Enron accounting scandal.
"When a company reverses itself in this manner, it puts investors ill at ease," said Alan Ackerman, market strategist at Fahnestock & Co.
But Tyco hopes backing out of the breakup will provide more stability. "What we're hoping is that what we're providing investors now is a little bit of certainty," McGee said.
"Breakups, sales within pieces of the business, are off the table," McGee said when asked if Tyco would re-consider if market conditions worsened.
Regarding CIT Group, McGee added that "We thought we took all the right steps. The rating agencies were comfortable with it, but the bond market turned out not to be."
Tyco is the nation's biggest maker of fire extinguishers and also makes electronic components, bandages, crutches, undersea fiber-optic cable and other products.
Kozlowski steered the company's growth through numerous acquisitions, prompting many on Wall Street to compare the company and him with General Electric (GE: Research, Estimates) and its former CEO, Jack Welch.
Investors have cast a wary eye on such large conglomerates since the collapse of energy trader Enron Corp. over accounting irregularities. The complexity of such large and diversified firms as Tyco and GE has invited closer scrutiny of their accounting, and prompted both firms to provide more detailed financial reports than they had in the past.
Tyco also began holding weekly conference calls this year to update analysts on performance and guidance in hopes of easing accounting fears.
This reflects a shift in thinking among investors who typically turn to such diversified firms in tough times looking for a bit of stability, prompted by the Enron situation.
"The jury's still out on Tyco. There's a crisis of creditability," Ackerman said.
The Bermuda-based company, whose net loss was equal to 96 cents a share for its second fiscal quarter ended March 31, also said it was eliminating bonuses for senior management this year.
Additionally, Tyco will retain its plastics business, which it also had planned to sell.
Excluding charges and other items, Tyco said it earned 65 cents a share in the quarter, flat with a year earlier and matching lowered forecasts, according to earnings tracker First Call, which tracks analysts' estimates.
Tyco also warned that 2002 earnings will be $2.60 to $2.70 a share, down sharply from forecasts of $3.14 a share, according to First Call. The company also lowered third-quarter expectations to 58 to 62 cents a share from Wall Street forecasts of 81 cents. Tyco earned 72 cents a share in the year-earlier third quarter.
The company blamed a severe downturn in the telecommunications and electronics markets in addition to uncertainty about the breakup plan, which spooked vendors, customers and employees, and increased borrowing costs.
"The near-term outlook remains difficult," Kozlowski said. "While there are some signs that the electronics markets may improve in the coming quarters, the rebound is likely to be slower than we had assumed in our prior guidance."
Tyco warned in February that its earnings could be as low as 65 cents a share, far below the 76 cents a share forecast by analysts at the time. Also at that time, Tyco executives tried to reassure investors about the company's accounting.
Revenue edged down to $8.7 billion from $8.8 billion in the quarter.
"We're now in a position where we've got some very strong businesses. We've got credibility to restore with investors. Progress is not instantaneous, but we're willing to take on that challenge," McGee said.