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18 Jan 13. GE reports strong rise in earnings. General Electric, the largest US industrial group by market capitalisation, has said demand from China and resource-rich countries is growing, as it reported an
11 per cent rise in earnings from continuing operations for the fourth quarter of last year, beating analysts’ expectations. Pre-tax profits rose 17 per cent for the three months to December to $5.27bn, giving earnings per share of $0.41, up from $0.37 from the equivalent period of 2011. Excluding one-off gains and losses, the company said, underlying earnings per share were $0.44, up 13 per cent and slightly ahead of the average of analysts’ expectations of $0.43.
Jeff Immelt, chief executive, said: “We ended the year with a strong quarter despite the mixed global economic environment. The outlook for developed markets remains uncertain, but we are seeing growth in China and the resource rich countries.”
Revenues reached $147.4bn, as the company had predicted, up 3 per cent from 2011, excluding the $3.7bn proceeds from selling part of GE’s stake in NBCUniversal, the media group. Profit margins continued to rise, with an increase of 1.2 percentage points in operating margins in the fourth quarter compared with the equivalent period of 2011, and a rise of 0.3 percentage points for the year over the previous year. The tax rate fell to 14 per cent for the year, down from 2011’s 28 per cent, when it was boosted by tax on the NBCUniversal stake sale. The results show the company shifting away from financial services and towards its manufacturing operations. For the year as a whole, GE Capital, the finance division, reported a 6 per cent drop in revenues to $46bn, while industrial revenues rose 4 per cent to $111bn. Within the industrial businesses, the strongest revenues and earnings growth came from transportation equipment and the energy businesses that GE has been expanding through acquisition, including power equipment and oil and gas services. Order intake was healthy, with the company booking 1.2 times as many orders as it billed during the quarter, and a record order backlog of $210bn at the end of the year. However, the figures showed the effect of the slump in the US wind power industry caused by uncertainty over whether its production tax credit would be renewed. Infrastructure orders in the quarter were up 2 per cent at $28.5bn, but would have been up 7 per cent excluding foreign exchange effects and the loss of wind orders. The wind tax credit has now been extended, as part of the deal to resolve the fiscal cliff at the start of the year, but industry executives say it will take time for projects to get under way. (Source: FT.com)

14 Jan 13. Curtiss-Wright Corporation (NYSE:CW) has entered into an agreement to acquire the Phönix Group through the acquisition of 100% of the shares of Phönix Holding GmbH for approximately €82m ($106m) in cash. Phönix, headquartered in Germany, is a leading designer and manufacturer of high performance, severe-service valves, valve systems and related support services to the global chemical, petrochemical and power (both conventional and nuclear) markets. The business will become part of Curtiss-Wright’s Flow Control segment. Phönix Group was formed through a series of acquisitions of German companies between 2001 and 2011, and is majority-owned by AXA Private Equity, the European diversified private equity firm. Founded in 1910, Phönix Valves — the original company — offers a complete range of high performance valves for special, critical and standard applications and is located in Volkmarsen. In 2001, Phönix acquired Strack, which specializes in lift plug valves and also provides a complete service program. Strack was originally founded in 1922 and is located in Barleben. In 2011, Phönix acquired Daume Control Valves, located in Hanover, which manufactures control valves for water and steam systems used in conventional power plants and for process technology, as well as cryoge

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