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Sat, Jan 24, 2009

Aviation Props Up General Electric Q4 Results

Engine Manufacturing Unit Helps Company Hold Onto Profit

For all the dour reports seemingly permeating the aviation world of late, we'll take good news wherever we can take it... even if it's somewhat mixed. GE Aviation, which manufactures a variety of aircraft engines for military and commercial use, helped prop up the fortunes of parent company General Electric in the fourth quarter of 2008.

Overall, General Electric -- an global entity that manufactures everything from turbines, to refrigerators, to sitcom television shows -- posted Q4 '08 net income of $3.9 billion, reports the Business Courier of Cincinnati. That works out to 36 cents per share... slightly worse than what analysts had expected, and a far cry from the company's $6.7 billion income for the same period in 2007.

Total revenues slipped 5 percent, dropping to $46.2 billion compared with $48.5 billion in Q4 2007.

Contributing to GE's overall 44 percent drop in income were severe hits to two of the company's largest business segments. Profits at GE's Consumer and Industrial Segment -- think televisions, and those aforementioned refrigerators -- plummeted 86 percent for the quarter. GE Capital Finance earnings dropped nearly as far.

A bright spot for General Electric in this overall gloomy picture was GE Aviation... which contributed Q4 2008 profits of $1.16 billion for the Technology and Infrastructure segment, a 21 percent increase over 2007. Revenues of $5.2 billion were up 2 percent over the same period in 2007.

Thanks largely to that strong performance, GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt was able to proclaim, "In a very tough environment, we delivered fourth-quarter business results in line with expectations we provided in December."

FMI: www.geae.com

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