GE Industrial Profit Will Grow by 10%: Oppenheimer

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- General Electric ( GE) has seen its stock lag the market a bit this year, but the company is on track to see profit from its industrial units grow by 10% in 2014, according to Oppenheimer analyst Christopher Glynn.

GE's shares closed at $22.90 Friday, returning 10% year-to-date, which trailed the stellar 15% returns for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 Index ( SPX.X).

The shares trade for 12.6 times the consensus 2014 earnings estimate of $1.82, among analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.

GE reported first-quarter operating earnings of $4.059 billion, or 39 cents a share, compared to $4.666 billion, or 44 cents a share, in the fourth quarter, and $3.567 billion, or 34 cents a share, during the first quarter of 2012.

While the bottom-line results came in ahead of the consensus estimate of 35 cents, investors were initially less than thrilled as the company's industrial revenue was down 6% year-over-year, to $22.7 billion. Please see TheStreet's earnings coverage for a full review of General Electric's first-quarter results.

The industrial segment seeing the biggest decline was Power & Water, with first-quarter revenue down 16% from a year earlier, to $22.7 billion. CEO Jeff Immelt said in the company's earnings release on April 19 that "Power & Water markets were worse than we expected. While we anticipated significantly fewer wind and gas turbine shipments, we saw additional pressure in European Power & Water services. This weakness also had a negative impact on margins."

GE is aiming to improve its profit margin for its industrial segments by 70 basis points by the end of the year.

In a note to clients on Sunday, Glynn wrote that "we continue to view some of the disruptive complexion of 1Q trends as largely reconcilable with the full-year plan," although his revenue and earnings model for GE factors in a margin improvement of just 50 basis points.

Glynn estimates that GE Capital will have flat year-over-year revenue in 2014, with profit for the financial arm increasing by 5%. General Electric continues to deemphasize GE Capital as part of Immelt's long-term strategy to focus on growing the conglomerate's industrial segments and lowering its reliance on short-term funding.

For the combined industrial segments, Glynn estimates revenue will grow by 3.4% to $154.3 billion in 2014, when factoring in $620 million in costs for corporate items. The analyst estimates that GE's total industrial profit will increase by 10% in 2014 to $7.873 billion, with profits growing in every industrial segment.

Despite the revenue decline for the Power & Water segment during the first quarter, Immelt said Oil & Gas orders were up 24% year-over-year. The higher orders feed Glynn's estimates for an increase in Power & Water revenue of 3% in 2014, with segment profit rising by 10% to $5.305 billion.

GE said its Aviation orders rose by a remarkable 47% in the first quarter from a year earlier. Glynn estimates Aviation will see revenue rise by 5% in 2014, with segment profit 8% to $4.409 billion.

Glynn's 12-to-18 month price target for GE's stock is $26, and he estimates the company will earn $1.65 a share this year, with EPS growing to $1.80 in 2014.

The EPS growth will be helped by share buybacks. General Electric expects its share repurchases this year to total $10 billion.

The company also pays a quarterly dividend of 19%, for a yield of 3.32%, based on Friday's close.

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-- Written by Philip van Doorn in Jupiter, Fla.

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Philip W. van Doorn is a member of TheStreet's banking and finance team, commenting on industry and regulatory trends. He previously served as the senior analyst for TheStreet.com Ratings, responsible for assigning financial strength ratings to banks and savings and loan institutions. Mr. van Doorn previously served as a loan operations officer at Riverside National Bank in Fort Pierce, Fla., and as a credit analyst at the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, where he monitored banks in New York, New Jersey and Puerto Rico. Mr. van Doorn has additional experience in the mutual fund and computer software industries. He holds a bachelor of science in business administration from Long Island University.