General Electric Co. (GE) has annnounced it has achieved record earnings before required accounting changes in 2003 of U.S. $15.6 billion, or $1.55 per share, and grew cash flow from operating activities by 28 percent.
"GE had a solid 2003, with eight of 13 businesses delivering double-digit earnings growth for the year," GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt said in a written statement. "We did an excellent job driving cash-flow growth. We positioned our company for long-term value enhancement, reorganized our businesses around our customers, and made major progress on our growth initiatives.
"We were encouraged by a 19-percent rise in fourth-quarter orders," Mr. Immelt continued. "The increase was broad-based, with all of our industrial businesses experiencing growth. In addition, financing volumes grew 13 percent at Commercial Finance’s mid-market businesses, and Consumer Finance grew its assets more than 30 percent. GE has strong momentum going into 2004."
Highlights of preliminary fourth-quarter and full-year 2003 results are as follows:
Fourth-quarter earnings were $4.56 billion, or $0.45 per share, up 45 percent from $0.31 per share in fourth quarter 2002. Nine of GE’s 13 businesses -- Aircraft Engines, Commercial Finance, Consumer Finance, Consumer Products, Insurance, NBC, Plastics, Specialty Materials, and Transportation Systems -- had double-digit earnings growth in the quarter. Quarterly comparisons were affected by the 2002 after-tax charge of $1.4 billion recorded at ERC and, in 2003, lower earnings from Power Systems and lower non-cash earnings from GE’s U.S. pension plans. Excluding these items, earnings in the fourth of quarter 2003 grew 11 percent.
Fourth-quarter revenues were $37 billion, up percent from last year’s $35.5 billion. Industrial sales increased 4 percent to $20.6 billion; excluding Power Systems, industrial sales rose 10 percent. Financial services revenues rose 6 percent to $16.5 billion.
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