GE shares jump after company posts surprise adjusted third-quarter profit, revenue tops expectations

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General Electric CEO Larry Culp on third-quarter earnings beat
General Electric CEO Larry Culp on third-quarter earnings beat

General Electric reported stronger than forecast revenues and a surprise adjusted profit on Wednesday for the third quarter.

The results for the company were weaker than for the same quarter a year ago, due in part to the coronavirus pandemic, but were better than Wall Street analysts expected. Shares of GE jumped 4.5% on Wednesday after the results were released.

Here's how GE's results compared with Wall Street expectations:

  • Revenue: $19.42 billion vs $18.73 billion forecast by analysts surveyed by Refinitiv.
  • Earnings per share: 6 cents adjusted vs a loss of 4 cents per share expected.

Revenue for the industrial company's aviation unit fell 39% year over year, but the decline was partially offset by slight gains for the renewable energy and power segments.

The company lost 13 cents a share for the quarter on a nonadjusted continuing basis and including certain impairment charges.

"We are managing through a still-difficult environment with better operational execution across our businesses, and we are on track with our cost and cash actions," CEO Lawrence Culp said in a statement. "While our work continues, GE's transformation is accelerating, and we expect Industrial free cash flow to be at least $2.5 billion in the fourth quarter and positive in 2021."

Revenues declined 7% year over year for GE's health-care segment. Orders were down for all applicable segments, ranging from a 12% decline for power to 54% for aviation.

"I think the turnarounds we talked about, even before Covid, at the beginning of the year in both power and renewables are gathering momentum," Culp said in an interview on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street."

GE Capital, the company's financial arm, had a loss of $78 million during the quarter compared with a loss of $663 million during the third quarter of 2019, due primarily to the effects of a one-time pretax charge. The segment had $15 billion of liquidity at the end of the third quarter.

The company also reported $514 million in industrial free cash flow for the quarter, down from $650 million from a year earlier.

The pandemic hit the company's av

iation business hard during the spring, leading to furloughs and layoffs. GE's second-quarter earnings, released in July, showed a wider-than-expected loss despite revenue topping estimates.

Chief financial officer Carolina Happe said on a call with analysts that GE has reduced headcount by about 15,000 in 2020 and expects that to increase to roughly 20,000 by the end of the year.

Shares of GE have lagged the broader market this year, shedding 36% year to date. That continues a long-term decline for the stock, which traded above $30 per share at the beginning of 2017 and currently trades above $7 per share.

General Electric Q3 earnings come in stronger-than-expected
General Electric Q3 earnings come in stronger-than-expected

Correction: GE's earnings report was announced Wednesday.