GE CEO says company needs to reduce debt 'thoughtfully and soon'

© Reuters. The logo of US conglomerate General Electric is pictured at the company’s site of its energy branch in Belfort

(Reuters) – General Electric (NYSE:) Co is targeting dividend in line with peers and needs to reduce its debt “thoughtfully and soon”, Chief Executive Officer Lawrence Culp said in a letter to shareholders on Tuesday.

The company said on Monday it would sell its biopharma business to Danaher Corp (NYSE:) for $21.4 billion in the biggest strategy reversal since Culp took over as the industrial conglomerate’s CEO in September.

“We have more options available to us down the line to generate cash to help bring down our leverage, including our remaining interests in Baker Hughes and Wabtec Corporation and continued flexibility for our go-forward Healthcare business,” Culp wrote in the letter

Culp has been planning asset sales to urgently reduce heavy debt and restore profits at the 126-year-old, Boston-based conglomerate. The company said it has reduced its stake in oil-services firm Baker Hughes and will sell nearly half of its healthcare unit.

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