General Electric reported a 15% rise in second-quarter revenue and strong earnings gains, even as the company continued to cope with volatile oil and gas markets and to shed the remainder of its GE Capital banking division.
GE revenue rose to $33.5 billion in the quarter, compared with $29.2 billion in the same quarter a year ago. The Fairfield, Conn.-based industrial giant posted earnings per share of 51 cents — higher than the 46 cents EPS forecast by Thomson Reuters — on net income of $2.7 billion. That compares with a $1.4 billion loss (13 cents per share) in the year-ago quarter.
The volatile oil and gas industry continued to impact the company, however, with second-quarter revenue off 22% in the sector to $3.2 billion, and earnings down 48%. The company’s transportation and appliances and lighting businesses also showed skidding sales. Industrial segment organic revenues were down 1%, to $24.4 billion.
“The diversity and scale of our portfolio enabled the company to perform well despite a volatile and slow growth economy,” said Jeff Immelt, GE chairman and CEO, in a statement. Immelt attributed the company’s EPS to strong earnings performances in power (up 9%), aviation (6%), and healthcare (11%).
The company’s quarterly earnings excludes the wind-down of its GE Capital banking division. Last month federal regulators removed GE capital from their too-big-to-fail list that imposed strict regulations and other safeguards.
“Our de-designation as a systemically important financial institution gives us more balance sheet flexibility,” Immelt said. “We will continue to invest in key growth initiatives such as GE Digital, while returning [about] $26 billion to investors through buybacks and dividends.”
Immelt said the banking division exit plan enabled GE Capital to return $15 billion in shareholder dividends year to date. According to Dow Jones, GE also borrowed $5 billion from its shrinking finance unit, GE Capital, to fund an accelerated share buyback program launched in June.