GE 1Q profit falls 12 pct but tops estimates

By Chris Kahn

Associated Press

Published: Friday, April 20 2012 6:05 a.m. MDT

FILE- This Dec. 2, 2008, file photo, shows a General Electric (GE) logo on display at Western Appliance store in Mountain View, Calif.

Paul Sakuma, File, Associated Press

Enlarge photo»

NEW YORK — General Electric Co. said Friday that first-quarter profit fell 12 percent, although it topped Wall estimates when some one-time items are excluded.

The industrial and financial giant said its primary manufacturing operation has rebounded after posting weak results following the global recession. Its industrial business, which includes transportation, health care and energy infrastructure, boosted profit by 10 percent in the quarter.

Altogether, GE reported earnings of $3.03 billion, or 29 cents per share, for the first quarter. That compares with $3.4 million, or 31 cents per share, for the same part of 2011. Revenue slipped by 8 percent to $35.2 billion.

Excluding special items, GE says it earned 34 cents per share.

Analysts, who typically exclude special items in their estimates, were expecting earnings of 33 cents per share on sales of $34.8 billion.

GE said profit increased 10 percent in energy infrastructure, its largest industrial business by revenue. Profit also rose 48 percent in its transportation segment, 10 percent in health care, and 2 percent in aviation. Profit fell 11 percent in its home and business solutions segment.

On top of the strong quarterly performance, orders for locomotives, aircraft engines and other industrial equipment grew by double-digit rates for the quarter.

The company's GE Capital lending reported a profit increase of 6 percent.

The Fairfield, Conn., company has a stake in almost every sector of the economy, from light bulbs and credit cards to windmills.

Shares of GE rose 13 cents to $19.27 in premarket trading.

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