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Earnings

Growth And Momentum: GE Enters 2022 With Strength From Strategic, Operational And Financial Progress

Tomas Kellner
Whitney Mercer
January 25, 2022

Reporting GE’s fourth-quarter results, GE Chairman and CEO Larry Culp said 2021 was an important year for the company, with GE successfully navigating a dynamic environment and delivering solid margin expansion, growth in earnings per share, and free cash flow. “We enter 2022 with strength from this continued strategic, operational and financial progress, thanks to the dedication and resilience of the GE team,” Culp said. “And we’re seeing real momentum and opportunities for sustainable profitable growth from near-term improvements in our businesses, especially as Aviation recovers and our end markets strengthen.”

Culp said it was this momentum that allowed GE to announce “one of the most important events in GE’s history” in November: a plan to form three independent companies focused on the growth sectors of aviation, healthcare and energy. “This is a defining moment for GE, one that will best position each of our businesses to deliver long-term growth and create value for all our stakeholders,” he said.

Looking back at 2021, Culp said GE teams “focused our portfolio, significantly reduced debt and strengthened our operating performance through lean and decentralization. We remain on track to achieve our long-term financial goals and we’re confident about where we stand today and where we are headed.”

 

Delivering Results

The company’s adjusted Industrial margin* expanded by 280 basis points organically,* and GE delivered $3.8 billion in industrial free cash flow* in the fourth quarter.

Adjusted Industrial margin* expanded 390 basis points organically* in 2021, helping drive adjusted EPS* to $2.12.[1] GE delivered $5.1 billion in industrial free cash flow*—and $5.8 billion*[2] for the whole year, “driven by better earnings and disciplined working capital management,” Culp said.

For the year, GE reported 12% organic growth in orders, with services up in all segments, “supporting faster growth in 2022,” Culp said. GE’s top line was pressured, largely due to supply chain challenges and commercial selectivity—two dynamics the company believes are temporary.

The CEO said the company was addressing supply chain disruptions and pointed out that GE’s Power and Renewable Energy businesses were being more selective about entering into commercial projects. “This means lower volume with lower risk today, but higher price and margin over time,” Culp said.

Culp also laid out expectations for GE’s 2022 outlook, which includes high-single-digit organic revenue growth,* organic margin* expansion of 150+ basis points, adjusted EPS* of $2.80 to $3.50, and between $5.5 and $6.5 billion of free cash flow.* These expectations are based on GE’s new one-column financial reporting format, a simpler presentation of GE’s results following the combination of GECAS and AerCap on November 1, which presents GE’s remaining businesses on a consolidated basis.[3]

The GECAS deal helped GE reduce gross debt by more than $50 billion in 2021, and more than $87 billion over the past three years.  

The engine driving GE’s performance: scaling lean management and decentralization across the company. The combination has enabled GE to deploy more capital to reinvest for growth and play offense. “First and foremost, we’re driving organic growth through innovation,” Culp said.

 

CFM RISE program

 

Aviation: Shaping The Future Of Flight

GE is supporting the recovery of the aviation industry today and helping it to transition to smarter, more sustainable and efficient flight in the future. GE Aviation is already helping large customers like United Airlines, Emirates and Etihad Airways power their planes with sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), including the first passenger flight, on a United Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, to use 100% SAF in one engine. In June, CFM International, a 50-50 joint company between GE and Safran Aircraft Engines, announced the launch of the Revolutionary Innovation for Sustainable Engines (RISE) Program to demonstrate advanced technologies for the next generation of engines that will use 20% less fuel and produce 20% fewer CO2 emissions than the most efficient jet engines built today. GE is also investing in research and development of technologies that could enable hybrid electric flight. 

 

Vscan Air GE Healthcare

 

Healthcare: Advancing Precision Health

Culp said he was encouraged that government and private health systems are investing in products and services to improve quality of care and increase their capacity. He highlighted GE Healthcare’s Ultrasound business and its investments in the handheld market, one of the fastest-growing segments in the field. In early 2021, GE launched Vscan Air,TM a pocket-sized, wireless ultrasound scanner that beams images from the ultrasound probe to a smartphone app. Today, the system is helping patients in more than 70 countries and is “expected to become the standard of care over time as it enables quick insights from routine exams with greater mobile flexibility,” Culp said.

GE Healthcare, led by its new CEO Pete Arduini, is also focusing on technology and systems that enable precision healthcare that personalizes diagnoses and treatments. Last December, the business acquired BK Medical, an advanced surgical visualization company whose technology helps clinicians see inside the patient’s body in real time during surgery and helps them make critical decisions.

 

Flexible Transformer

 

Energy: Leading The Energy Transition

GE’s Renewable Energy, Power and Digital businesses are also helping customers around the world with the energy transition to more sustainable sources of power generation to help reduce their emissions and fight climate change.

GE Gas Power’s 9HA.01 gas turbines is projected to be the first to burn hydrogen blended with natural gas in mainland China, for example. And just recently, GE Digital, which will become part of the new standalone energy company, acquired Opus One Solutions Energy Corp., a Canadian software company specializing in developing software for the management of distributed energy resources (DERs) like solar and wind farms, energy storage and other sources.

Much of renewable energy already comes from GE’s onshore wind turbines and, in the future, from the Haliade-X offshore turbine platform. The Haliade-X was selected for the 800-megawatt (MW) Vineyard Wind 1 project in Massachusetts,  which will be the first utility-scale offshore wind farm in the U.S., and the 3.6-gigawatt Dogger Bank installation in the North Sea, which is projected to be the world’s largest offshore wind farm when it comes online. There are several versions of the Haliade-X turbine, which can produce between 12 and 14 MW. 

GE believes that a holistic approach to energy that includes a combination of renewables, always-on power sources like gas turbines, and the smart grid will help the world transition to a more sustainable future.

 

GE Future

 

The Shape Of Things Come

Addressing GE’s future, Culp said that GE’s customers, teams and investors have expressed their support for the company’s next steps. “In hundreds of conversations, customers have told us that the new structure will help better serve their needs,” he said.

He also pointed out that there was “a lot of excitement within the company. Our teams are highly motivated — they’re sharpening their focus and picking up the pace. This makes me even more confident in what we’ll deliver this year,” he said.

He added that GE investors are “also very supportive and see the value creation opportunity ahead of us. We have three terrific businesses that are leaders in their respective industries, and independently they will be able to attract an even broader investor base with distinct, sector-specific investment propositions.”

Said Culp: “We’ve hit the ground running to launch three outstanding businesses at scale in places the world needs and wants GE at its best. Each business will be more focused and accountable, with the agility to respond faster to customer needs.

“More broadly, this is the next phase of building a world that works. GE is exceptionally well positioned to create long-term growth and value in our three critical global needs: shaping the future of flight, delivering precision health and leading the energy transition. And I’m proud of the work our teams are doing to enable a more sustainable, healthier, cleaner and connected future for all.”

*Non-GAAP financial measure. The reasons we use these non-GAAP financial measures and the reconciliations to their most directly comparable GAAP financial measures can be found within GE’s fourth-quarter 2021 earnings materials, posted to ge.com/investor.

For important information concerning our forward-looking statements, please click here.


[1] Includes insurance.

[2] Based on prior three-column reporting format and excluding the impact of discontinued factoring from the first quarter of 2021.

[3] For more information on its transition from three- to one-column financial statement reporting, please see GE’s fourth-quarter 2021 earnings materials here.