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GE profit tops estimates as margins improve

[London] General Electric Co reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit on Friday, as margin improvement across its industrial businesses offset revenue that came in below analysts' targets.

The US conglomerate posted a 4 per cent rise in organic revenue, which excludes acquisitions, for its industrial manufacturing businesses, on which Chief Executive Officer Jeff Immelt is increasingly focusing the company. GE said such revenue was on track to hit the higher end of its projected range of 4 per cent to 7 per cent growth for 2014.

GE's shares rose 3.5 per cent to US$25.10 in premarket trading.

Third-quarter net income rose to US$3.54 billion, or 35 cents per share, from US$3.19 billion, or 31 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding special items, earnings of 38 cents per share topped the analysts' average estimate by 1 cent, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue rose 1 per cent to US$36.17 billion, below the US$36.79 billion that analysts expected.

GE's profit margin for its industrial businesses came in at 16.3 per cent, expanding by 0.9 percentage points from a year earlier.

Like those of other diverse US manufacturers, GE's shares have underperformed the broader market this year after a big run in 2013. REUTERS