(Reuters) - General Electric Co <GE.N> pulled its full-year forecast on Thursday due to the uncertainties created by the coronavirus outbreak, but backed its first-quarter industrial free cash flow expectation of near negative $2 billion.
Shares of the company, which reaffirmed its annual forecast just little over a month ago, rose as much as 3.2% to $7.54 in morning trading.
"With net proceeds of about $20 billion from the BioPharma transaction now in hand, we have more flexibility to de-risk and further strengthen our balance sheet," Chief Executive Officer Larry Culp said in a statement.
GE last month sold its biopharma business to Danaher Corp <DHR.N> to focus on its core aviation and power businesses.
The announcement comes days after customers Boeing Co <BA.N> and Airbus SE <AIR.PA> halt or lower production of jets as airlines cancel flights and layoff staff amid a virtual halt in travel caused by the pandemic.
The Boston-based maker of jet engines, power plants and other industrial equipment said its first-quarter adjusted earnings will now be "materially below" its prior expectations of about 10 cents per share.
GE's healthcare unit is working with https://reut.rs/39TiB92 Ford Motor Co <F.N> to produce 50,000 ventilators needed to treat severely sick coronavirus patients.
The company said it would share more details during its first-quarter earnings call on Wednesday, April 29.
(Reporting by Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel and Sriraj Kalluvila)