General Electric Co. posted increased revenue and profit for the fourth quarter on rising sales in emerging markets, higher banking profit, and stronger global sales of aircraft engines and oil and gas drilling equipment.
The company’s shares fell nearly 3 percent in morning trading though, because GE failed increase its profit margin as much as it had predicted.
The company’s profit for all of 2013 rose, though revenue fell slightly, as GE continues its transformation from a sprawling conglomerate to a more focused industrial company that builds and services complex equipment such as CT-scanners, locomotives and gas-fired turbines.
GE reported that its net income rose 5 percent to $4.2 billion, or 41 cents per share, for the October-December period on revenue of $40.38 billion. That’s up from $4.01 billion, or 38 cents per share, on revenue of $39.16 billion in the fourth quarter of 2012.
Adjusted to remove the effects of one-time items and discontinued operations, GE earned 53 cents per share in the latest period. That matches what analysts polled by FactSet expected, on average.
But a manufacturing problem that has affected the quality of some wind turbine blades and poor performance by the company’s small energy management division prevented the company from meeting its goal of improving profit margin in its industrial divisions by 0.7 percent. Instead, it improved 0.66 percent.
Christian Mayes, an analyst at Edward Jones, said that failing to hit the profit margin target unsettled investors even though the company hit its earnings and revenue targets. Mayes said GE had implied that the target would be easily hit, and that even if things didn’t go perfectly at the end of the year, they’d still be able to reach it.
“They’ve been telling everyone that was an important target for them and they missed it,” said Christian Mayes, an analyst at Edward Jones.
GE shares fell 68 cents, or 2.5 percent, to $26.52 in midday trading Friday.
GE CFO Jeffrey Bornstein said in an interview Friday that the company’s biggest goal is to improve industrial profit margins during company’s transformation. The target is 17 percent or higher by 2016, up from 15.7 percent in 2013.
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