GE Comes Up Short On Healthcare And Aviation

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GE (NYSE: GE) proved once again that it cannot fire on all of its cylinders as the performance of its aviation and healthcare businesses faltered.

GE missed analyst estimates which were $.38 for the fourth quarter on revenue of $40.05. It released it figures as it usually does–in a confused format which makes them hard to understand:

GE announced today fourth-quarter 2011 Operating Earnings of $4.1 billion, or $0.39 per share, up 6% and 11% respectively from the fourth-quarter of 2010. Revenues were $38.0 billion for the quarter and $147.3 billion for the year. Record Infrastructure orders of $28.6 billion in the fourth quarter enabled GE to end the year with a backlog of $200 billion, the largest in its history.

The backlog is not very important when some of the balance of the key divisions are performing poorly. Also lost at the top of the earnings release was that revenue for the entire company dropped sharply from $41.2 billion in the quarter last year to $38 billion in the most recent quarter

Aviation revenue was up 2% to $4.9 billion, and operating income rose 4% to $850 million. In a world in which Boeing and Airbus have recorded strong orders, the numbers seem out of place. Maybe GE aviation product sales will catch up later

Healthcare figures were worse. Revenue rose 1% to $5.4 billion. Operating income was down by 4% to $953 million.

Even the GE flagship division–energy infrastructure–only had partial good news. Revenue rose an impressive 19% to $13 billion, but segment operating income was flat at $2.2 billion

CEO Jeff Immelt said “We finish 2011 with momentum and are positioned for a strong 2012. Our Industrial businesses are positioned for growth. GE Capital is strong and profitable. We have substantial cash available to improve shareholder returns. The Company is positioned to perform for investors.”

What happened to last year’s performance? There did not seem to be any momentum at all.

Douglas A. McIntyre