GE lowers the bar on guidance

Conglomerate says quarter earnings will be at low end of previously announced range, examining plans to restructure.

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By Aaron Smith, staff writer

NEW YORK ( -- Conglomerate General Electric lowered its fourth-quarter earnings guidance range Tuesday and provided details on restructuring plans.

GE (GE, Fortune 500) said earnings for the current quarter will be between 50 to 52 cents a share, down from the previously announced range of 50 to 65 cents.

GE, based in Fairfield, Conn., also said it was evaluating restructuring and reviewing losses,expecting an after-tax charge of $1 billion to $1.4 billion.

GE Chief Financial Officer Keith Sherin said he was "taking a number of tough, but prudent actions" to make the company stronger during the financial crisis, including lowering the leverage ratio and commercial paper balance.

"Our forecast anticipates a challenging loss environment," said Sherin, in a press release. "We are also reorganizing the business to reduce costs and allocate capital more efficiently."

GE Capital's Chief Executive Michael Neal said he has "established a framework" for the subsidiary to earn about $5 billion in 2009.

"From there, we believe the business is positioned to sustain solid, 10% earnings growth in the future," said Neal, in a news release.

Shares of GE rose nearly 10% in morning trading.

-- An earlier version of this story gave Sherin the wrong title. regrets the error.  To top of page

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