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UPDATE 1-GE sees double-digit industrial profit growth next year

Lewis Krauskopf and Ernest Scheyder
Wednesday, 18 Dec 2013 | 3:39 PM ET

NEW YORK, Dec 18 (Reuters) - General Electric Co expects profit from aviation, healthcare and other industrial units to rise at least 10 percent next year, the conglomerate said on Wednesday, adding it plans aggressive investments in manufacturing while shrinking its finance arm.

GE has been seeking to reduce its dependence on earnings from the volatile financial sector and return to its industrial manufacturing roots with 3-D printers and products such as sensors for oil pumps and jet engines that collect a plethora of key data for operators.

GE said it was on track to cut its finance unit's share of total profit to 30 percent by 2015, and that it expects company-wide profit to rise in the single digits next year.

"We stand here going into 2014 as an immensely strong company," Chief Executive Jeff Immelt said in a presentation to investors in New York on Wednesday.

Total revenue for 2014 should range from flat to a 5 percent increase, GE said.

Analysts, on average, expect GE to increase earnings by about 6 percent next year to $1.74 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Revenue is expected to rise by nearly 3 percent in 2014 to $149.7 billion.

In October, GE posted a record backlog of orders that it said positioned it well for 2014. The company also said it was on track to reach its target of expanding operating profit margin for its industrial businesses to 15.8 percent this year from 15.1 percent in 2012.

GE has also been cutting costs to boost profit, and said in October it had already reached its cost savings goal in its industrial businesses of about $1 billion this year.

Shares of GE rose 1.4 percent to $27.41 in Wednesday afternoon trading. The stock has gained nearly 31 percent so far this year.