- Chelsey DulaneyThe Wall Street JournalCANCEL
- Ted MannThe Wall Street JournalCANCEL
Updated April 17, 2015 9:38 a.m. ET
General Electric Co.
reported a loss of $13.57 billion for the first three months of 2015, weighed down by costs related to the company’s plan to sell the bulk of its lending arm and refocus on its industrial operations.
Excluding exit charges, GE’s operating earnings narrowly topped expectations, while revenue fell a worse-than-expected 12% amid weakness in its oil-and-gas business and foreign exchange impacts.
Chief Executive Jeff Immelt described the current environment as volatile in a news release, but the company reaffirmed that it was on track to deliver $1.10 to $1.20 a share in industrial per-share earnings for the year.
Shares, up 2.7% over the past year through Thursday, rose 1% to $27.54 in morning trading.
Last week, GE said it would pare down the business significantly, unveiling plans to sell off about $165 billion of loans to borrowers like Wendy’s
franchisees, overseas consumers and private-equity firms. GE also said it would sell a $26 billion portfolio of investments in office buildings and other commercial property to buyers that include Blackstone Group
LP and Wells Fargo
The plans represent one of the biggest strategic shifts in the 123-year history of the company. GE had warned it would book about $16 billion in charges in the quarter to repatriate cash and for impairments because of shortened hold periods.
Overall for the quarter ended March 31, GE’s loss of $13.57 billion, or $1.35 a share, compared with a profit of $3 billion, or 30 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding the charges, operating earnings came in at 31 cents a share.
Revenue fell 12% to $29.36 billion. Excluding the GE Capital exit impacts, revenue was down 3% to $33.1 billion.
Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were expecting per-share operating earnings of 30 cents and revenue of $34.23 billion, excluding GE Capital exit charges.
GE’s industrial revenue edged down 1% to $24.36 billion, as growth in its power and water and transportation divisions was offset by declines in its oil and gas and health care divisions.The segment also took a $950 million hit from foreign exchange.
GE held the line in its oil-and-gas business, where analysts were bracing for ugly results given the plunge in crude oil. The company reported a profit decline of 3% to $432 million, on $3.96 billion in revenue, which was down 8% from the previous year.
Analysts who follow the company expect those returns to continue falling through the year as oil-production companies continue to slash capital expenditures, including on GE’s oil field equipment and services.
Oil-and-gas equipment orders fell 10% to $2.2 billion, following on a 15% in the fourth quarter of 2014. The unit’s revenue from equipment sales fell by 13% in the first three months of this year, GE said. And overall the company reported a 9% drop in infrastructure equipment orders from “resource rich” countries, including those in the Middle East, Africa and Russia—regions that have seen economies seriously affected by the collapse in crude oil prices.
Meanwhile, GE Capital revenues fell 39% to $5.98 billion. The business has been a significant profit driver for the company, but it has fallen out of favor with investors, who fear it casts a pall on the company’s industrial business.
Write to Chelsey Dulaney at Chelsey.Dulaney@wsj.com and Ted Mann at firstname.lastname@example.org
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