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Opinion
Brooke Sutherland

GE’s ‘Simplification’ Is a Work in Progress

The transition to a new earnings format makes deciphering the company’s results a task even more herculean than usual. 

The untangling process is full of unhelpful reminders of just how tangled GE is.

The untangling process is full of unhelpful reminders of just how tangled GE is.

Photographer: Ore Huiying/Bloomberg

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The “simpler” version of General Electric Co. still requires a manual and a compass on earnings day. 

The industrial giant on Tuesday announced its first set of quarterly results since completing the sale of its aircraft leasing business. That divestiture meaningfully shrank the size of GE Capital, a former financial behemoth whose varied interests almost sunk the company twice. As such, GE now gives numbers on a consolidated basis rather than breaking out its industrial and capital operations into separate reporting considerations. This is supposed to make the company easier to understand. In practice, the transition made deciphering GE’s earnings materials a task even more herculean than usual.