General Electric (GE)

Q3 2011 Earnings Call

October 21, 2011 8:30 am ET


Trevor A. Schauenberg - Vice President of Corporate Investor Communications

Jeffrey R. Immelt - Executive Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and Member of Public Responsibilities Committee

Keith S. Sherin - Vice Chairman and Chief Financial Officer


Nigel Coe - Morgan Stanley, Research Division

Scott R. Davis - Barclays Capital, Research Division

C. Stephen Tusa - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division

John G. Inch - BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division

Julian Mitchell - Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division

Jeffrey Sprague - Citigroup

Christopher Glynn - Oppenheimer & Co. Inc., Research Division

Steven E. Winoker - Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., LLC., Research Division

Terry Darling - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division

Deane M. Dray - Citigroup Inc, Research Division



Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the General Electric Third Quarter 2011 Earnings Conference Call. [Operator Instructions] My name is Chanel, and I'll be your conference coordinator today. [Operator Instructions] As a reminder, this conference is being recorded. I would now like to turn the program over to your host for today's conference, Trevor Schauenberg, Vice President of Investor Communications. Please proceed.

Trevor A. Schauenberg

Thank you, Chanel. Good morning, and welcome, everyone. We're pleased to host today's third quarter 2011 earnings webcast. Regarding materials for this webcast, we issued a press release earlier this morning and the presentation slides are available via the webcast. Slides are also available for download and printing on our website at

As always, elements of this presentation are forward-looking and are based on our best view of the world and our businesses as we see them today. Those elements can change as the world changes. Please interpret them in that light.

For today's webcast, we have our Chairman and CEO, Jeff Immelt; and our Vice Chairman and CFO, Keith Sherin.

Now I would like to turn it over to our Chairman and CEO, Jeff Immelt.

Jeffrey R. Immelt

Great, Trevor, thanks. Good morning, everybody. We had a solid quarter in the third quarter with earnings up 11%. Growth was fairly broad-based. Organic revenue growth was 8%, and orders were very strong. Energy, which has been a drag so far this year, should turn positive in fourth quarter. The environment was more volatile particularly in Europe and with U.S. housing, and this had a negative impact on both Healthcare and Appliances. However, emerging market growth was very strong. We have a strong balance sheet, and we continue to execute a balanced capital allocation plan. Significantly, we retired the Berkshire preferred shares and those improved EPS by $0.03 in 2012. So in all, it was a good quarter in a volatile environment.

Orders grew by 16% in the quarter, which is a good indicator for the future. Organic orders growth was 6%. Order pricing is flat versus previous year, which is a positive sign. We ended the quarter with $191 billion of backlog and this is the highest in our history. Our market momentum gives us confidence and solid organic growth going forward in 2012 and beyond, so overall we think a very good orders story.

For growth, our growth investments are paying off with high market share. Our revenue and growth markets are up 24% year-to-date. We've had 8 of 9 regions experiencing 20%-plus growth. Our services growth year-to-date is up 15%, and we see continued momentum in this important space. Our investment in R&D is paying off with more launches and important segments. We're seeing great success in Energy behind the Flex 50, a new gas engine. Aviation is winning across the board, and we enter the fourth quarter with a strong NPI pipeline in both Healthcare and Appliances. So third quarter industrial revenue organic growth of 8% is we can sure to be very strong.

Our margins hit a low for the year in the third quarter. We expect improvement in fourth quarter. Energy is the big driver. In the quarter, we shipped wind and thermal units with pricing below last year. We see that improving for 2012. Our R&D spend is normalizing and should decline as a percent of revenue in 2012. Meanwhile, acquisitions and services are improving.

As we said in the second quarter call, we've seen margins come and below our expectations for 2011, but we now see a solid margin growth in 2012. So that really is the margin story.

Now for cash, we see CFOA coming in about $12 billion for 2011. We had more working capital in line with higher growth. As I said earlier, we've executed on a balanced capital allocation plan. In the quarter, we bought $2 billion of stock. We completed the Converteam acquisition, and we've now retired the preferred shares on October 17. So between the Berkshire preferred and the buyback in the quarter, that's about $4 billion. And we ended the quarter with $91 billion of cash on the balance sheet, so extremely strong in liquid balance sheet.

In GE Capital, we've given this update in the past. I just wanted to give you an update on GE Capital Funding and capital levels. With the $3 billion of debt we did last week, we've substantially completed our 2011 long-term borrowing. And we'll continue to do some reverse inquiries throughout the year. We kept our commercial paper flat. And with $83 billion of cash, we're really in a great position for our 2012 maturities.

As you know, the long-term debt maturities go down to $35 billion for 2013 and beyond, so we have a much different funding profile. With earnings and a smaller GE Capital, our Tier 1 common went to 11%. So we're ahead of plan on shrinking GE Capital, leaving us with "dry powder" for brokerage and Asian opportunities in the future. So this is really -- I think GE Capital -- a very good and strong story, so we've got really strong liquidity and capital positions, and GE Capital keeps doing a great job.

So with that, let me turn it over to Keith to go through more details on the operations of the company.

Keith S. Sherin

Thank you, Jeff. Let me start with the third quarter summary. We had continuing operations revenues of $35.4 billion, which were flat. Industrial sales of $23.2 billion were reported down 2%. However, as you can see from the notes on the bottom of the page if you exclude the impact of not having NBC revenues, revenues were up 12% in total. That's also reflected in the segment results on the bottom on the right side, you can see the industrial revenues.

Read the rest of this transcript for free on

If you liked this article you might like

3 Reasons Why the Dow Jones Industrial Just Got Smashed to Pieces

3 Reasons Why the Dow Jones Industrial Just Got Smashed to Pieces

Inside Thursday's Dow Jones Industrial Average Blowup

Inside Thursday's Dow Jones Industrial Average Blowup

Jim Cramer: When There's Nothing to Buy, People Sell

Jim Cramer: When There's Nothing to Buy, People Sell

Is General Electric Stock Still Good for Your Retirement Account?

Is General Electric Stock Still Good for Your Retirement Account?

Jim Cramer: What's the Playbook for a Return to the Upside?