GE cuts costs, prepares for more regulation: report

NEW YORK Fri Oct 24, 2008 7:44pm EDT

NEW YORK (Reuters) - General Electric Co (GE.N) is cutting costs and preparing for a wave of regulation from Washington, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

Chairman and Chief Executive Jeffrey Immelt, speaking at a Columbia Business School social-enterprise conference, said costs and employment would be lower in 2009 across the board, the newspaper reported. Immelt did not give numbers or percentages, the report said.

Separately on Friday, GE's president and chief executive of enterprise solutions Charlene Begley said her business had imposed a hiring freeze and was limiting travel costs, the newspaper said.

In April, after the company posted an unexpected decline in first-quarter profits, Immelt raised the company's cost-cutting goal to $3 billion from $1 billion, citing difficult market conditions.

Earlier this month GE sold $3 billion in preferred stock to Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc (BRKa.N).

(Reporting by Elinor Comlay)