NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- General Electric (GE - Get Report) reported third-quarter earnings from continued operations of $3.3 billion, or 29 cents a share, topping the estimate of 27 cents a share by analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.
In comparison, operating earnings were $3.4 billion, or 30 cents a share, the previous quarter, and $2.5 billion, or 22 cents a share, a year earlier.
After factoring in a loss from discontinued operations of $1.1 billion to reserve for claims risk from GE's sale of its Japanese consumer finance business in the third quarter of 2008 and $75 million in dividends on preferred shares, third-quarter earnings to common shareholders were $2 billion, or 18 cents a share, compared with $3 billion, or 28 cents a share,,the previous quarter, and $2.4 billion, or 23 cents a share, during the third quarter of 2009.
Total revenue for the third quarter was $35.9 billion, missing the consensus estimate of $37.54 billion, and declined from $37.4 billion in the second quarter and $37.9 billion a year earlier.The largest decline in year-over-year revenue was in GE's energy infrastructure division, which was expected by the company and analysts. Profit for the segment, however, was flat at $1.66 billion. Technology infrastructure profit was $1.47 billion for the third quarter, declining 10% year over year, with a decline in aviation profits reflecting a gain that was recorded in the third quarter of 2009. Declines in aviation and transportation profit were partially offset by a 14% increase in health care profits. While revenue at NBC Universal was flat from a year earlier, third-quarter profit for the unit declined 15% to $625 million. GE has an agreement in place to sell a 51% stake in NBC to Comcast once regulatory approval is received. The deal is expected to net the company $6.4 billion in cash. Segment profit for the smaller home & business solutions unit was $104 million -- unchanged from a year earlier -- on a slight decline in revenue.
GE CapitalGE Capital's segment profit for the third quarter was $871 million, increasing from $141 million a year earlier, as an improvement in credit quality enabled the company to reduce the provision for losses on financing receivables to $1.7 billion from $2.9 billion a year earlier. CEO Jeff Immelt, in a statement Friday, said the company's equipment orders had increased 9% with "strong global demand." GE had $78 billion in cash at the end of the quarter. -- Written by Philip van Doorn in Jupiter, Fla.
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