Wall Street analysts yesterday welcomed the plan by Gulf & Western Industries Inc. to take losses of nearly half a billion dollars as part of a major restructuring of the giant conglomerate.
Gulf & Western announced Sunday it would take a $470 million write-off for its just-ended 1983 fiscal year, as part of a plan to divest itself of unprofitable and low-growth operations. The company said it was taking the action in an attempt to become "leaner, simpler and more manageable."
Scott Merlis, of Shearson-American Express Inc., described the divestiture plan as "a very positive step for the company because the companies left after the divestiture represent high-return businesses."
Harry Allen, an investment analyst with Merrill Lynch, said, "They are getting rid of 10 years accumulation of fat and mistakes all in one fell swoop."
The company's stock rose 75 cents yesterday, to close at $25.375 a share on the New York Stock Exchange.
About 10,000 workers will be affected by the divestiture. This month, the company's domestic work force will be reduced by about 7,500 employes as a result of the divestiture.
Gulf & Western's write-off is the loss expected from divesting operations, since the company probably could not get book value for the businesses sold or discontinued. The write-off includes $110 million of tax benefits, therefore actual gross loss is estimated at $580 million.
The write-off will leave the company with a net loss of $215 million in the fiscal year that ended July 31.
Businesses to be sold or discontinued account for about $1 billion in sales, or 20 percent of the firm's revenues. A four-month management study determined which businesses would be affected.
Nearly half the write-off will be taken for divesting the Natural Resources group, which lost $14.1 million in 1982 for Gulf & Western. The group includes the corporation's 60 percent interest in Jersey Miniere Zinc chemical operations and mines, all other chemical operations, mines and other smaller units.
Several parts of the Building Products segment of the company's former Automotive and Building Products group will be sold, including Livingston-Graham, Symons Corp. and Richmond Screw Anchor, based in Fort Worth. Also to be divested are Sega Enterprises Inc., Gulf & Western's video games unit, Famous Players Ltd., a theater chain, two race tracks and the Energy Products and E. W. Bliss divisions of the manufacturing group.
No sales have been completed, though several are in various stages of negotiations, said a company spokesman.
Martin S. Davis, Gulf & Western's chief executive, explained that businesses being sold "either do not fit with our core operations, are losing money, are profitable but have a poor return on investment, or have limited growth potential."