General Electric reported a 36% profit increase for the final quarter of 2016 and affirmed its 2017 target of 3% to 5% revenue growth.
Net income from continuing operations attributable to shareholders rose to $3.48 billion in the fourth quarter, or 39 cents a share, from $2.57 billion, or 26 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding special items, earnings fell 2% to 46 cents a share, but matched analysts’ average estimate.
GE’s total revenue fell 2.4% to $33.1 billion, slightly below Wall Street expectations of $33.6 billion.
Organic revenue in industrial businesses fell 1%, below GE’s zero to 2% forecast. Revenue from GE’s power plant unit was hit by the failure to deliver six gas turbines to Bahrain and Iraq in the quarter but the unit’s revenue, with the addition of the Alstom business GE acquired last year, still rose 20 percent.
“We executed on our 2016 goals and continued to drive growth across our businesses through the GE Store while investing in additive manufacturing and digital technology,” CEO Jeff Immelt said in a news release, noting that GE delivered $1.49 in earnings per share and 1% organic growth for 2016 and returned $30.5 billion to shareholders through dividends and buyback.
“We will continue to invest in the industrial internet to lead in productivity and performance for our customers in 2017,” Immelt added.
Overall organic revenue rose 4% in the fourth quarter. With Alstom revenue included, hitting the 2017 revenue target “doesn’t look like a stretch,” Deane Dray, analyst at RBC Capital Markets, told Reuters.
Immelt said in an earnings call that the target was achievable. “I feel pretty secure,” he said.
Revenue in GE’s oil-and-gas business, which sells products for exploration and production, fell 22%, but as Reuters reports, the decline was expected amid weak market conditions.