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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 April, 2004, 14:20 GMT 15:20 UK
Industrial orders boost GE profit
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Profits at General Electric have risen by 8% as industrial orders improved.

The conglomerate, which makes more from finance than from any one manufacturing sector, made a $3.24bn net profit in the first three months of 2004.

Sales overall were up 10% on the year before, with orders from industry - up 20% - performing best, the firm said.

Despite the growing order-book, GE said it would not be till 2005 that the company returned to double-digit percentage increases in profits.

But the company's performance matched expectations, with most of its divergent businesses making a solid contribution.

Revenues from commercial finance, the firm's mainstay, were up 13%, with consumer lending soaring 30%.

GE's television network, NBC, was also a strong performer, and chairman and chief executive Jeffrey Immelt said the network's upcoming merger with Vivendi Universal would be a key factor in returning to double-digit growth.

But while transport equipment and healthcare sales also boomed, the energy sector presented a more disappointing picture, with revenues down 12% and profits 28% lower.

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