Friday, July 17, 2009

General Electric's quarterly profit tumbles 47%; Energy Business Again the Star Performer

From two corners of the Dow Jones empire. First up, MarketWatch:
General Electric Co. said Friday profit fell 47% in the second quarter, as the industrial giant navigated through a tougher economic environment with fewer sales and more credit defaults in its financial business.

For the June quarter, the Fairfield, Conn., conglomerate and Dow Jones Industrial Average components said profit was $2.67 billion, or 24 cents a share, compared to $5.07 billion, or 51 cents, earned in the year-earlier period.

On a continuing-operations basis, earnings in the latest period were 26 cents a share, while analysts polled by FactSet Research were expecting earnings of 24 cents a share, on average.

Analyst earnings typically exclude discontinued operations.

GE builds jet engines, locomotives and water treatment plants, as well as provides financial backing, health-care products and entertainment, including NBC.

Revenue for the company fell to $39.08 billion from $46.84 billion in the 2008 second quarter. Wall Street was looking for sales of $41.7 billion.

"We are executing through the recession by aggressively controlling costs and driving working capital improvements while continuing to invest for future growth," said Jeff Immelt, chairman and chief executive, in a statement....MORE

And from Environmental Capital:

Once again, the energy business saved General Electric’s bacon. Second-quarter profit at the conglomerate plunged 53% on a per-share basis—but things would have been a lot worse without the energy division, which outperformed other businesses in sales and earnings.

GE’s energy business reported second-quarter revenue of $9.57 billion, a slight drop from the second quarter of 2008. Despite the lower sales, segment profit rose 13% from the prior year to $1.79 billion. Energy was the only GE division where profits rose during the quarter. GE’s energy unit makes power-generation equipment, from wind turbines to nuclear power plant components.

To get an idea how important the energy business is becoming for GE: Energy accounted for about 20% of group sales and profit in the second quarter of 2008. This year, the energy business accounted for 24% of sales and 36.7% of segment profit....MORE