Shares rose steadily on Wednesday afternoon as Culp spoke, ending the day up 65 cents, to close at $ 6.75 a share. The stock traded between $ 6 and $ 7 throughout the summer.
The action began to rebound amid Culps’ efforts to curb two years of steady declines. But then the COVID-19 pandemic struck. People have stopped stealing. GE’s aerospace business suddenly turned from a profit engine to a black hole. As a result, Culp in May unveiled plans to cut the division’s workforce by 25%, resulting in the loss of 13,000 jobs worldwide.
Culp said on Wednesday he had made good progress in removing $ 2 billion in annual costs of the company’s budget. the April-June term, he said, has been the most difficult shift of our careers, if not our lives.
GE builds and maintains jet engines through its aviation business, and also operates an aircraft rental company within its financial services division. Both have been affected by the sharp drop in air currents, although GE’s military activity has been a positive.
Culp said commercial flights have largely rebounded in China to pre-COVID levels, but a recovery in US aviation remains far off. This industry will recover, Culp said. It won’t be next year.
A widely available COVID-19 vaccine could provide reassurance to consumers and businesses that it is safe to travel by air again. Culp said two medical experts he regularly relies on for advice have become more positive about the prospects for such a vaccine than they were in the spring.
Whether it’s a vaccine or the return of animal spirits, I’m of the opinion that people want to come back to it, Culp said, referring to a term to describe the emotions that positively influence economic behavior. I know how exhilarating it has been for those of us in the Boston office to come back to it in the normal way.
Parts of the healthcare business of GE, another normally successful company, also suffered during the pandemic due to the drastic slowdown in elective testing and procedures around the world. (GE has seen a high demand for ventilators and patient monitors due to COVID-19.) Culp said the healthcare industry is recovering at a faster rate than initially expected, in particular with regard to scanners such as MRI machines. The division, he said, is on a very good trajectory for the second half of the year.
I am sitting here today very confident in the direction I was going despite all the trials and tribulations COVID has thrown at us, Culp said. We had to make our own luck.
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