FILE PHOTO: The logo of U.S. conglomerate General Electric is seen on the company building in Belfort, France, October 19, 2019. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

(Reuters) – General Electric Co’s (GE.N) industrial businesses took a $1 billion hit to cash flow in the first quarter due to the COVID-19 pandemic as overall revenue fell almost 8%, and the company warned the damage would worsen in the next three months.

The Boston-based conglomerate had earlier this month pulled its 2020 forecast, citing uncertainties created by the coronavirus outbreak, but backed its first-quarter industrial free cash flow expectation of near negative $2 billion.

Free cash flow from industrial operations was negative $2.2 billion in the first quarter, missing analysts’ estimates of negative $2.02 billion, according to Refinitiv data.

GE reported adjusted earnings of 5 cents per share, below the average estimate of 8 cents, according to Refinitiv.

Fallout from the pandemic caused revenue to fall 13% in both the aviation and the power divisions. Profit in aviation fell 39% to $1 billion, while the power unit lost $129 million, GE said.

GE said about 20% of planned maintenance work on power plants had been deferred until later in the year, a factor that weighed on revenue and profit.

Reporting by Rachit Vats and Alwyn Scott; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty

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