General Electric (NYSE:GE) announced that first-quarter operating earnings — excluding charges related to last year’s sale of its NBCU and Garanti businesses — grew by 1% to $3.6 billion. That put earnings per share at 34 cents, compared to $3.56 billion in earnings, or 33 cents a share, during the same period last year.
That beat the collective forecast of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg, who had predicted an average of 33 cents a share for the quarter.
Overall revenue fell 8% to $35.2 billion, but that still surpassed analysts’ forecast of $34.7 billion for the quarter.
GE’s energy infrastructure unit posted earnings up 10% to $1.52 billion. The transportation unit saw profits jump 48%, while the health care and aviation units saw earnings grow by 10% and 2%, respectively. The home and business solutions unit posted an 11% drop in earnings.
Industrial segment profits rose 14% to $3.27 billion for the quarter.
GE said that first quarter infrastructure orders shot up 20% to $23.1 billion, putting the company on course for “double-digit earnings growth in 2012 for both industrial businesses and GE Capital.”
Earnings at GE Capital were flat at $1.8 billion, compared to last year. However, the company noted that first-quarter 2011 earnings for the unit included the sale of its Garanti business. Excluding that, GE Capital’s earnings jumped 27% over last year.
CEO Jeffrey Immelt has promised to shift the company’s operations, reducing GE Capital’s role and increasing its industrial earnings — from manufacturing of turbines, engines and locomotives — by between 5% and 10% in 2012, Bloomberg noted.
In early Friday trading, GE shares were up just over 1%.