first-quarter earnings jumped 14% from a year ago, matching estimates, as the company's slimmed-down business model yielded revenue gains in every sector.
GE earned $4.31 billion, or 39 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with $3.97 billion, or 33 cents a share, a year ago. Revenue rose 10% to $37.82 billion. On average, analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were forecasting earnings of 39 cents a share on sales of $37.4 billion in the most recent quarter.
Guidance was also in line, with GE pegging second-quarter earnings at 46 cents to 48 cents a share and full-year earnings at $1.94 to $2.02 a share. Analysts had estimated earnings of 47 cents a share in the second quarter and $1.99 a share in the full-year.
"We are right on plan for the year," GE said. "Our growth initiatives are performing well, our fundamentals are solid, our orders are up, and we have a healthy cash flow stream fueling our businesses and funding our share repurchase program. The company is well positioned going forward."
Healthcare paced sales and earnings growth in the first quarter, with segment revenue rising 10% to $3.66 billion and income rising 21% to $496 million. Also doing well on the top line was NBC Universal, in which sales jumped 24% to $4.48 billion. Profit at the broadcast unit fell, however, dropping from $709 million to $654 million.
GE's sprawling infrastructure unit saw revenue rise 8% to $10.15 billion and profit rise 11% to $1.70 billion. The industrial segment's sales rose 6% to $8.14 billion while its profit rose 14% to $600 million. GE's commercial finance unit had 8% revenue growth and 27% profit growth, while consumer finance revenue rose 9% and income rose 14%.
"We had a strong performance in the quarter, highlighted by double-digit growth in earnings, revenues and cash flow," the company said. "Driven by demand for our industrial equipment, momentum in healthcare and continued performance in our financial services businesses, we achieved 9% organic revenue growth. Five of six of GE's businesses delivered double-digit earnings growth."
"Importantly, orders were strong across the company, growing 33%. Our orders for equipment and services were particularly robust, growing 67% and 20%, respectively. This gives us good visibility going forward," the company said.