GE Reports $2.9 Billion Profit in Q4

Full year profits were $11 billion

General Electric on Jan. 22 reported stronger-than-expected profits as earnings from energy and manufacturing offset weakness at its finance and media units.

The company's net profit was $3 billion in the quarter, or $2.9 billion for common shareholders.

That pushed the profit for the full year to $11 billion, including discontinued operations. Revenues fell 10.4% to $41.4 billion in the period but were also ahead of expectations. Profits fell 22% from the same period a year ago.

"GE's environment has improved and we saw some encouraging signs at year-end," CEO Jeff Immelt said. "During the difficult economy of 2009, we took a series of actions to improve GE so that we would be positioned for growth in the future."

GE's energy unit, which makes wind turbines as well as oil and gas equipment, led the earnings with an operating profit of $2.2 billion, up 9% from a year ago.

The technology division, which includes GE's aircraft engine manufacturing, saw a 16% drop in operating earnings to $2.1 billion.

Profits fell 30% to $602 million at NBC Universal, the media-entertainment arm that GE has agreed to merge with Comcast.

The finance arm, GE Capital Finance, suffered a 67% plunge in earnings but stayed profitable, producing $167 million. The unit has suffered from some of the same problems as banks in an environment of difficult credit and rising loan defaults. "Capital Finance is executing well in a difficult environment," Immelt said. "Every segment at GE Capital was profitable with the exception of commercial real estate."

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010

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