On Wednesday, industrial conglomerate General Electric (GE 0.46%) announced that it suffered a year-over-year revenue decline of 8% in its first quarter. COVID-19 impacts were significant, particularly in its aviation business. Second quarter will be the first full quarter impacted by the pandemic, and the company expects further declines in its financial results.

GE's free cash flow was negatively impacted by $1 billion in the quarter due to impacts on its operations, as well as its customers and suppliers. The company has recently been taking actions to preserve cash and improve its financial position.

airplane engine under construction

Image source: Getty Images.

In its conference call, GE said its recent actions of reducing and refinancing its debt leaves the company with no debt maturing in 2021. It has reduced debt in its industrial business by $7 billion and GE Capital by $4 billion. The company "remains committed to achieving its leverage goals over time."

GE cut 700 jobs from its power division in first quarter and is making progress toward reducing capital spending by 25% in 2020. Throughout the company, it plans more than $2 billion in operational cost reductions and more than $3 billion in "cash preservation activities" for 2020.

GE Chairman and CEO Larry Culp said, "We're embracing today's reality and accelerating our multi-year transformation to make GE a stronger, nimbler, and more valuable company."