Daily News: January 20, 2012

GE Capital Q4 Earnings Up 58%; Margins a ‘Healthy’ 5.4%

GE announced fourth-quarter 2011 operating earnings of $4.1 billion, up 6% from the fourth quarter of 2010. Revenues were $38 billion for the quarter and $147.3 billion for the year. Record infrastructure orders of $28.6 billion in the fourth quarter enabled GE to end the year with a backlog of $200 billion, the largest in its history.

The company said GE Capital’s fourth-quarter earnings were $1.6 billion, up 58% from the prior year. GE Capital’s ENI, net of cash, was $445 billion at quarter-end, almost one year ahead of previously planned reductions. By continuing to focus on high-return segments, GE Capital targets further reducing ENI to a range of $425 – $440 billion in 2012, while still growing earnings double-digits.

Commenting on the finance unit’s performance, GE chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt noted that GE Capital is poised to grow double-digit in 2012, while continuing to shrink its balance sheet and strengthen its capital and liquidity positions. GE Capital volume grew to $49 billion, up 13% from the third quarter and margins remained healthy at 5.4%. Tier One common ratios are now at 11.4% and 9.9%, and remain a source of strength. Immelt said, “As we have previously stated, we expect to restart the dividend from GE Capital to GE this year, subject to Federal Reserve review.”

In December, GE Capital announced that its wholly owned bank subsidiary, GE Capital Financial, would acquire MetLife’s U.S. retail deposit business that consists of approximately $7.5 billion in U.S. deposits and an established online banking platform. The company said the acquisition, subject to regulatory approval, will accelerate GE Capital’s plans to launch a U.S. deposit platform, helps build a stronger and more cost-efficient funding base and allows GE Capital to better serve its middle-market commercial customers.

To read the full GE earnings news release, click here.