General Electric Co. said yesterday its fourth-quarter profit more than doubled as the conglomerate saw strong revenue growth in its infrastructure, health-care, entertainment and financial-services businesses.
GE also said it is restating financial results for the years 2001 through 2005 and the first three quarters of 2006 for an accounting adjustment in its financial services commercial-paper program.
Its shares fell $1.05, or 2.8 percent, to close at $36.95 in trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
Nicholas Heymann, an analyst with Prudential Equity Group in New York, said the results were "pretty good" but investors were concerned that GE had its second restatement in less than two years.
"If anybody is supposed to have perfect execution of accounting, it's supposed to be GE," Heymann said. "I don't think it's indicative of a problem across GE."
The restatement, which reduced reported earnings by a net of $343 million, is based on a decision by the Securities and Exchange Commission that GE's commercial-paper hedging program didn't meet certain technical requirements. The change will have a slightly positive effect on earnings over the next 10 years, GE said.
GE also said it expects earnings per share from continuing operations to rise 8 percent to 13 percent in the first quarter of 2007 and 10 percent to 12 percent for the full year.
"NBC Universal's turnaround is advancing, and Industrial had a good year in spite of continued commodity inflation and competitive challenges at Plastics," said chairman and chief executive officer Jeff Immelt in a prepared statement. The company said it is considering a divestiture of the plastics unit, which has an estimated value of up to $10 billion.
The company's NBC television network has shown signs of a turnaround, topping CBS the week of Jan. 1 as the nation's most-watched network for the first time this TV season.
Net income for the three months ended Dec. 30 totaled $6.58 billion, or 64 cents per share, up from $3.16 billion, or 30 cents per share, a year ago when GE took a $2.7 billion charge, net of taxes, for discontinued operations.
Fourth-quarter revenue rose 11 percent to $44.62 billion, topping Wall Street's $44.18 billion forecast, according to a Thomson Financial poll. Organic revenue - that is, not including acquisitions - grew 8 percent during the quarter, while quarterly orders rose 19 percent.