General Electric Profit Beats Forecast, Revenue Misses

CNBC.com with wires

General Electric reported quarterly earnings thatbeat analysts' expectations but disappointed on revenue, sending its shares lower Friday.

General Electric building in Ohio
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The industrials conglomerate delivered fourth-quarter earnings excluding items of $4.1 billion, or 39 cents per share, up from 36 cents a share in the year-earlier period and compared with analysts' expectations of 38 cents per share.

Revenue of $38.0 billion for the quarter and $147.3 billion for the year disappointed analysts' expectations of $40 billion.

Quarterly earnings were down from $41.38 billion a year ago, but up 4 percent excluding the impact of the sale of NBC Universal.

General Electric is a minority shareholder in NBC Universal, CNBC's parent company.

After the announcement, shares of the company fell nearly 3 percent in pre-market trading.

"GE's portfolio demonstrated strength and resilience, delivering earnings growth for the seventh consecutive quarter while also generating substantial operating cash flow to support investment in our business and dividend growth," GE chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt said in a statement.

"We are confident in our 2012 framework to realize double-digit earnings growth in our Industrial and Capital segments, increase margins and provide dividend growth to our shareholders in line with earnings." 

The Fairfield, Conn., industrial conglomerate, which makes everything from jet engines to light bulbs, earned $3.73 billion, or 35 cents per share, compared with $4.54 billion, or 42 cents per share a year earlier.

Revenue fell 8 percent to $37.97 billion. The decline was largely due to the company's sale of its majority stake in NBC Universal to Comcast last year. But GE also said it also saw slower growth in Europe, and its ongoing effort to make its GE Capital financing arm more efficient reduced revenue at the unit by 9 percent. GE Capital is the company's second-largest segment.

GE said infrastructure orders rose 15 percent in the quarter, leaving it with its biggest-ever order backlog of $200 billion.

For all of 2011, the company earned $14.15 billion, or $1.23 per share, up 22 percent compared with $11.64 billion, or $1.06 per share, in 2010.

It expects to post double-digit earnings growth this year over last in its industrial and capital segments, but it still expects to see continued economic volatility.

—The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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