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Shares of General Electric (GE) - Get Free Report  posted double-digit gains on Wednesday after the company reported third-quarter adjusted earnings that beat analysts' forecasts as it focused on delevering its balance sheet and paying down debt, and also raised its closely watched industrial free cash flow forecast.  

GE posted third-quarter adjusted profit of $1.28 billion, or 15 cents a share, vs. $980 million, or 11 cents a share, in the comparable year-ago period. Analysts polled by FactSet had been expecting per-share earnings of 12 cents. Revenue came in at $23.36 billion vs. $23.39 billion a year ago.

The results highlighted GE's ongoing efforts to turn itself around and become a leaner and more efficient company with less tentacles in unrelated business segments - and less debt.

"It would appear that company's painful turnaround is showing signs of progress," CMC Markets analyst David Madden said.  

The sale of its remaining stake in Wabtec, which brought in $1.6 billion in cash, as well as the sale of part of its stake in Baker Hughes, which resulted in another $3 billion of cash, helped the company reduce debt and continue to focus on streamlining its operations, CEO Larry Culp said.

The company announced or completed some $9 billion in "total industrial deleveraging actions" during the quarter. It also reduced external debt at GE Capital by $1 billion. That helped to, in part, offset losses in its aviation unit, where general and equipment orders fell thanks to Boeing's (BA) - Get Free Report ongoing grounding of its 737 MAX jet, which uses GE engines.

"We are encouraged by our strong backlog, organic growth, margin expansion, and positive cash trajectory amidst global macro uncertainty," Culp said in a statement. "We are raising our industrial free cash flow outlook again even with external headwinds from the 737 MAX and tariffs, and we are holding our adjusted EPS outlook despite reduced income from moving Baker Hughes to discontinued operations."

GE's closely watched free cash flow (FCF), which is used as a gauge of efficiency, came in at $650 million. The company raised its 2019 forecast for industrial FCF to a range of flat to $2 billion, up from a range of between negative and plus $1 billion.

"It would appear that company's painful turnaround is showing signs of progress," CMC Markets analyst David Madden said.

By segment, gains in renewable energy partially offset headwinds in both its power and aviation businesses, the company said. Revenue in renewable energy rose 13% to $4.4 billion from $3.9 billion, thanks to new orders for wind turbines and other components. Revenue in the company's broader power segment, fell 14% to $3.9 billion from $4.6 billion as the unit "...continues to make progress on its multi-year turnaround," GE said.

Aviation revenue gained 8% to $8.1 billion from $7.5 billion as orders for LEAP engines used on Airbus planes and other Boeing models offset stalled sales and service revenue from the 737 MAX groundings. Healthcare revenue was up slightly for the quarter, rising 5% to $4.9 billion from $4.7 billion, while operations from GE Capital generated a loss of $645 million.

GE shares ended the day Wednesday up almost 12%, or $1.05, at $10.08.

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