General Electric Co. reported first-quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimates as the company extended a transformation of its business around industrial manufacturing and software.
Adjusted earnings rose to 21 cents a share, GE said Friday in a statement. That exceeded the 19-cent average of analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Adjusted profit was $1.9 billion.
Expanding the manufacturing units is a central focus for GE as CEO Jeffrey Immelt tilts the company away from lending and toward industries such as oil and gas, power generation and aviation. GE’s reshaping accelerated during the quarter with deals to sell the home-appliances unit and finance operations in the U.S. and India.
The company revealed plans in January to move its headquarters to Boston after more than 40 years in Fairfield, Connecticut. The relocation, slated for later this year, is intended to improve GE’s ability to recruit software engineers as it builds a digital division in concert with the industrial business. Orders in the new digital unit rose 29% to $1.2 billion, GE said.
GE fell 0.9% to $30.70 in New York before regular trading opened Friday. The shares slipped 0.5% this year through Thursday, compared with a 2.3% gain for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.
Sales in the industrial divisions and GE Capital operations being retained were $27.6 billion, compared with $27.7 billion expected by analysts. Operating earnings will be $1.45 to $1.55 a share this year, GE said, reaffirming an earlier forecast. Organic revenue is forecast to rise as much as 4%.
By Richard Clough