Report: GE will cut costs

October 25, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
The chief executive of General Electric Co. said Friday that the company is cutting costs as it braces for a difficult 2009, The Wall Street Journal reported on its Web site.Jeff Immelt, in an interview at a conference at Columbia University in New York, said costs will be lower in 2009 than in 2008.

"That will be true across the board," the newspaper quoted him saying. He also said employment will be lower, but declined to give numbers or percentages.

GE makes jet engines, locomotives, water treatment plants and other large manufactured goods. It also runs a large financial business that provides consumer and business financing. GE has already announced plans to trim its finance unit.

And Immelt said at the company's shareholders meeting in April that GE will increase its planned cost-cutting by 50 percent, from $2 billion to $3 billion.

GE spokesman Gary Sheffer told The Associated Press Friday that the company has said many times it is reducing costs. He said GE does not have a company-wide plan.

"The businesses address how they run their operations. We don't dictate a number from corporate," he said in an e-mail.

The Fairfield, Conn.-based GE employs more than 327,000 workers worldwide.

Immelt said he has not issued hiring freezes or travel restrictions but has identified such measures for potential cost-saving tools for business heads, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Immelt said Friday that GE will continue to be active in areas such as loans to restaurant franchisees and companies under bankruptcy protection. He said new loans in those areas would decline this quarter, The Wall Street Journal said.

GE shares closed at their lowest level in more than a decade Friday, losing 97 cents, or 5 percent, to $17.83. The shares have lost more than half their value this year.