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General Electric on Friday disclosed quarterly sales that topped analyst expectations, as its aviation unit beat Wall Street forecasts and the decline in its oil and gas business eased.
The industrial conglomerate said its first quarter revenues fell 1 per cent to $27.66bn, exceeding estimates of $26.4bn.
Pain from the trouble in the energy sector that caused companies to cut back sharply on capital spending has eased substantially, with the oil and gas unit posting a 9 per cent drop in revenues to $3bn, beating expectations of $2.83bn. In the fourth quarter, the division’s sales slumped 22 per cent.
GE’s aviation business also had a better than expected quarter, posting revenue growth of 9 per cent to $6.8bn. However, the power division that makes turbines and other goods for the utilities sector logged a slimmer than expected 17 per cent rise in sales to $6.09bn.
Overall, industrial operating and verticals earnings per share, which is closely watched by investors as a core metric of GE’s performance, was little changed at 21 cents, better than the 17 cents that was expected.
Chief executive Jeff Immelt said in a statement that GE is still “on track” to close its deal wither Baker Hughes in the middle of this year. The pact will create an oilfield servicing heavyweight that will compete with the likes of Schlumberger, the industry leader.
Net earnings attributable to shareholders were $619m, from a loss of $61m in the first quarter of 2016.