NEW YORK – General Electric Co. , the world's largest company, on Wednesday bowed to investor pressure and said it will shed more light on its financial inner workings.
GE said it will break out revenue and operating information for all of its 26 businesses, including GE Capital, which contributes about 40 percent to its overall profits. Investors have wondered about the role of the huge financial-services arm in its parent company's earnings, which consistently meet or beat Wall Street estimates.
GE's move to provide more specific information comes after accounting issues at bankrupt energy trader Enron Corp. and conglomerate Tyco International Ltd. have shaken investor confidence in sprawling companies.
Wall Street has long wondered if Fairfield, Connecticut-based GE squirrels away funds in certain of its far-flung businesses during prosperous times to prepare for tougher economic patches.
Calls have also increased for more information about many of GE's acquisitions, such as the fate of their workers and the overall terms of the deals.
The company, whose market value is the largest in the world, said it will incorporate the changes in its annual report, to be released around March 8, as well as in earnings releases and filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
GE spokesman David Frail said the company, whose businesses range from broadcasting to jet engines, has been providing a great deal of information about its businesses already.
In September, when Chairman and Chief Executive Jeff Immelt took over for Wall Street legend Jack Welch, GE began Webcasting analysts' meetings and providing charts and other additional information, Frail said.
"We are continuing along that line," he added.
Other leading U.S. companies, such as computer giant International Business Machines Corp. , have also responded to investors' accounting concerns by saying they would provide more financial data.
Former high-flyer Enron collapsed amid a storm of accounting questions and filed for the biggest bankruptcy in U.S. history in December. Some investors say Tyco improperly accounted for past acquisitions, a charge that company vehemently denies.
GE shares were up 7 cents at $36.47 in late morning New York Stock Exchange trade. The stock has lost about 30 percent of its value since its 52-week peak of $53.50 hit last summer.