GE jumps on surprise profit as CEO Larry Culp sees turnaround accelerating

US General Electric books a profit, surprising analysts and raising its share price.

Photo: Benoit Tessier/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

General Electric Co. surged after the company reported a surprise profit and predicted gains in free cash flow late this year and in 2021.

Adjusted earnings of USD 0.06 a share in the third quarter bucked Wall Street’s expectations for a USD 0.04 loss, and sales of USD 19.4 billion also exceeded analyst estimates. Industrial free cash flow, a key gauge of earnings power, will be at least USD 2.5 billion in the fourth quarter and positive next year, GE said in a statement Wednesday as it reported quarterly results.

The financial improvement buoys Chief Executive Officer Larry Culp’s efforts to get his turnaround back on track after the coronavirus pandemic upended GE’s jet-engine division and slammed its other businesses. While orders still sank in the third quarter in GE’s aviation, power equipment and health-care units, the upbeat outlook underscores the company’s progress in stabilizing its operations amid the crisis.

"GE’s transformation is accelerating," Culp said in the statement. "We are managing through a still-difficult environment with better operational execution across our businesses, and we are on track with our cost and cash actions."

The shares surged 6.3 percent to USD 7.55 ahead of regular trading in New York. GE tumbled 36 percent this year through Tuesday, compared with a 4.9-percent decline in a Standard & Poor’s index of US industrial companies.

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