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GE Earnings Dive by 47 Percent; GE Capital Profit Down 80 Percent

by Lynn Shapiro, Writer | July 20, 2009
The company is
closely watched
as a capital equipment
maker in several
industry sectors
GE, hammered by credit defaults and fewer industrial orders due to the recession, posted an earnings dive of 47 percent. The bellwether Dow Jones company posted earnings of $2.67 billion, or 24 cents a share, compared with $5.07 billion, or 51 cents a share, in last year's second quarter.

Revenue for all GE's units fell 17 percent to $39.08 billion, primarily due to an 80 percent earnings drop for GE Capital. GE Capital's sales fell 28 percent but would have dropped only 12 percent, if not for negative exchange rates, as the dollar becomes stronger.

Health, Aviation Down

Consumer and industrial profits, including health care and aviation, slid 9 percent to $4.3 billion, or 7 percent, to $26 billion.

"While we have only realized limited revenue to date, we believe that activity will increase in the second half of 2009," chairman and CEO Jeffrey Immelt told investors at a conference call Friday.

GE's best performing business was its energy unit, which makes turbines for power-generating plants. The unit reported a 13 percent earnings jump on a 1 percent sales drop. Meanwhile, NBC Universal earnings took a nose dive.

A "Reset Economy"

The company's stock has dropped about 24 percent this year, compared to a 1 percent drop for the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

Moody's and S&P downgraded the company's vaunted "Triple A" credit ratings, down one one notch earlier this year, and the company was forced to slash its dividend as the financial arm was battered by the credit squeeze.

Nevertheless optimistic about the future, Immelt told investors, "We have strengthened GE Capital. We have dramatically reduced costs and our cash flow is outstanding. We are investing in new products and are positioned to win in key global markets. We have an additional pipeline of over $2 billion in restructuring projects that we are evaluating to improve our performance in 2010 and beyond. We are confident that GE will compete and win in a reset economy."

Source: GE