October 19, 2012

GE 3Q earnings rise; revenue disappoints

General Electric Co.'s transformation into a more simple industrial company seems to be helping the Fairfield conglomerate's bottom line. The top line, though, is lagging slightly, The Associated Press reports.

GE's net income rose 49 percent in the third quarter to $3.49 billion, or 33 cents per share. On an adjusted basis, GE earned 36 cents per share, in line analysts' expectations and up 13 percent from a year earlier.

Revenue rose $1 billion, or 3 percent, to $36.35 billion. But analysts were looking for revenue of $36.95 billion and GE shares fell 2.8 percent in afternoon trading.

GE, based in Fairfield, Connecticut, has returned to its roots an industrial company. It manufactures such products as jet engines and refrigerators and provides equipment and services to a growing roster of energy companies.

Revenue from GE's industrial division is now more than double that of its financial businesses. During the financial crisis, investors worried that its enormous banking arm, GE Capital, would fail. GE said Friday its efforts to reduce assets in GE Capital, a move applauded by investors, is ahead of schedule.

As a result, GE lowered its revenue forecast. GE Capital's revenue will fall 10 percent this year, instead of 5 percent. Revenue for all of GE is now expected to rise 3 percent for the year — to $151 billion — instead of 5 percent.

The energy sector has been a big part of GE's industrial push. GE has spent $11 billion buying companies such as those that help oil and gas companies find and produce fossil fuels, and manufacturers that make engines and turbines to burn those fuels.

It said Friday that its energy investments are performing well and will generate strong growth in the fourth quarter and next year. Energy infrastructure profits rose 13 percent in the third quarter.

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