GE Capital revenue dropped 9% to $10.7 billion, while profit climbed 58%… (Saul Loeb, AFP/Getty Images )
General Electric Co.'s fourth-quarter profit topped estimates after the conglomerate's industrial order backlog rose to a record $200 billion.
Profit from continuing operations of 39 cents a share, excluding some items, compared with the 38-cent average estimate from analysts surveyed by Bloomberg, GE said Thursday.
Revenue dropped 8%, including the sale of GE's NBCUniversal stake, to $38 billion, lower than the average analyst estimate of $40 billion. Sales were trimmed by about $1 billion because the fourth quarter had six fewer operating days than the year-earlier period, GE said. Sales were up 4% excluding NBC.
Profit from continuing operations increased less than 1% to $3.93 billion, from $3.9 billion, or 36 cents, a year earlier, Fairfield, Conn.-based GE said.
Including items such as pension costs and an increase in reserves related to the Japanese consumer finance unit sold in 2008, net income fell 18% to $3.73 billion, or 35 cents a share, from $4.54 billion, or 42 cents.
GE Capital revenue dropped 9% to $10.7 billion, while profit climbed 58% to $1.62 billion. Chief Executive Jeffrey Immelt is simplifying the unit while seeking to lessen the portion of the company's total earnings that comes from the finance division.
GE plans to consolidate GE Capital Corp. and GE Capital Services Inc. to simplify reporting, Chief Financial Officer Keith Sherin said. GE Capital Services used to encompass the company's now-disposed-of insurance divisions and, in the 1990s, the long-sold-off Kidder Peabody division. With those gone, there is little benefit to having two separate entities, he said.
Earnings in energy infrastructure, the largest industrial division, were little changed with profit of $2.2 billion. Energy sales rose 19% to $13 billion.
Profit at aviation, the world's biggest jet engine maker, rose 4% to $850 million on sales of $4.92 billion. The division is beginning to ship record orders spurred by newer models including the GEnx on Boeing Co.'s Dreamliner and the Leap on Boeing's 737 Max and Airbus' A320neo.
Healthcare profit declined 5% to $953 million on a sales increase of 1% as the division grappled with declines in Europe.
GE shares were unchanged at $19.15 on Thursday after the earnings release.