(MENAFN) General Electric Co. (GE) reported better than expected quarterly profits, helped by increased sales and higher prices, Reuters reported.
The largest US conglomerate said it made a USD3.03 billion net profit in the first quarter, down from USD3.43 billion a year earlier. The results include a USD200 million charge for exiting its Irish mortgage business, as well as gains from the sale of NBC Universal and a finance unit.
Profit margins, however, fell to 13.8 percent of sales from 14.3 percent a year earlier, but Jeff Immelt is betting on higher selling prices to help the company reach its goal of boosting overall 2012 profit margins to a target of 15.4 percent of sales.
GE said industrial orders rose 20 percent in the quarter and selling prices had improved in most of its businesses.
The group also reported 8.2 percent drop in revenue to USD35.2 billion due to the continued scaling back of GE Capital and the sale of a majority stake of the NBC Universal entertainment business to Comcast Corp. Revenue at GE's industrial businesses was up 14 percent. The strongest revenue growth came from GE's energy and railroad locomotive units.
GE's transportation unit, which makes locomotives, posted 41 percent sales growth, while revenue at the GE Capital arm it is cutting back declined 12 percent.