General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) shares slipped once again after Moody’s Investor Service revised its rating for the company to negative Wednesday. Shares continued to fall when shareholders protested against the company’s first annual meeting. GE shares were down 4.5 percent late midday on Wednesday.
Moody’s downgrade comes after the annual meeting, where Chief Executive Officer John Flannery addressed company matters. At the meeting, union workers from GE plants came and protested against the company along with several hundred displeased shareholders.
Frustrated shareholders elected a smaller board with three new members and voted down six shareholder proposals. One proposal would have required the board chairman and chief executive roles to be held by separate people, another would require GE to exclude share buybacks when calculating whether the company met financial targets to qualify for executive bonuses, according to Reuters.
Flannery addressed shareholders and workers, saying that the company is “keenly aware of the pain.” Flannery said that executives are trying to turn around the power and oil and gas segments amid the company trying to sell off assets.
Flannery said back in October GE has enough assets to sell to generate $20 billion in the year or two, but so far, GE has only generated approximately $4 billion.
GE explored options to sell its railroad business last year. The company has had its lighting division up for sale for over a year now, and potentially looking into selling its aviation and power segment.
Flannery said back in October that the company has “a number of other businesses which drain investment and management resources without the prospects for a substantial reward.”
GE als looked into exploring a public offering for its divisions and discussing hybrid deals with other public companies to merge assets, according to sources.
“2017 has been immensely disappointing to those of us on the board, the GE leadership team, employees across the business,” said Flannery to shareholders, ““I strongly feel we have very very good businesses that need to be the center of gravity of the company going forward.”
GE’s stock has fallen 19.83 percent this year alone.