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General Electric returns $25 billion to shareholders

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A sign outside the corporate headquarters of the General Electric company, 18 September, 2003, in Fairfield, Connecticut. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

A sign outside the corporate headquarters of the General Electric company, 18 September, 2003, in Fairfield, Connecticut. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

General Electric (GE) has returned $25 billion to shareholders since January, including $18.1 billion share buybacks and $6.4 billion through dividends.

GE’s backlog ended the quarter at $319 billion, up by 18 percent since the third quarter of 2015.

Of the $319 billion backlog, $234 billion was from industrial services, marking the single largest services backlog quarter ever for GE Power, GE Renewable Energy, and GE Aviation.

In a statement, GE’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Jeff Immelt. the had a good quarter in a slow-growth environment.  “Globally, growth continues, but at a low level. There is sufficient opportunity out there to achieve our goals, but we plan to control our costs even tighter as we navigate this environment.”

GE disclosed that it is narrowing earnings per share guidance for the year and updating organic revenue outlook. “At the same time, the company is increasing its free cash flow plus dispositions range and returning $4 billion of additional cash to shareholders through buybacks”.

Immelt said GE’s diverse, digital industrial strategy continues to enable the company to deliver in the current environment. He noted the company achieved “strong performance in power, renewable energy, aviation and healthcare” in the quarter and continued to perform in a challenging oil and gas market.

As the industry navigates tough economic and geopolitical markets around the world, Immelt said, GE is “investing for the future and executing digital industrial strategy for customers and investors.” GE has made a number of acquisitions, portfolio moves and announcements during the quarter to emphasize this point.

Earlier in the quarter, GE Healthcare Life Sciences acquired Biosafe Group, who makes equipment to manufacture cell therapies for diseases such as cancer. By bringing together GE’s digital technology and Biosafe’s expertise and innovative systems, customers can receive world-class, efficient cell therapy processes and gain increased access to regenerative medicine.

In October, GE announced plans to acquire LM Wind Power, a leading manufacturer and supplier of wind turbine blades. Rotors with LM Wind’s blades can stretch to over 180 meters in diameter to capture wind and maintain torque — longer than two football fields put end to end.   These kinds of deals also offer opportunities to enhance wind turbine performance and efficiency with software and other technology, ultimately adding flexibility and reducing energy costs for customers.

GE also announced plans to expand its additive manufacturing capabilities with leading producers in advanced metal powders and metal-based advanced manufacturing. Using additive techniques, GE Aviation can produce nozzles that are 25 percent lighter and significantly more durable than traditional parts.

GE Aviation announced that the first LEAP engine entered service with Pegasus Airlines on its Airbus A320neo aircraft. The LEAP engine, which was developed by CFM International, has received more than 11,500 orders and commitments to date, making it the fastest-selling engine in aviation history. CFM is a 50/50 joint venture between GE Aviation and France’s Safran.



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