NBCU posts growth in final GE quarter


NBC Universal was the revenue growth leader for General Electric in Q4 of 2010. GE reported its results on Friday (1/21), exactly one week before it plans to hand the keys of NBCU to Comcast.

Fourth-quarter earnings from continuing operations attributable to GE were $3.9 billion, up 31% from $3.0 billion in the fourth quarter of 2009. Earnings per share from continuing operations were 36 cents, up 33% from a year earlier. Segment profit increased 28% compared with the fourth quarter of 2009. Only the improvement of more than 900% at GE Capital – which had suffered mightily during the recession – was better than the 38% gain at NBCU. Technology Infrastructure saw segment profits grow by 11%, while earnings were down 2% at Energy Infrastructure.

GE CEO Jeff Immelt noted the tax implications of the NBCU sale to Comcast as he prepares to go to closing on January 28th following the approval by both the FCC and DOJ. [LINK] “While we previously anticipated the sale of our majority stake in NBC Universal would close in the fourth quarter of 2010, it is now scheduled to close in the first quarter of 2011. This delay resulted in a lower-than-expected tax rate in the fourth quarter and will lead to a higher tax rate in the first quarter. We expect this will contribute to a significantly higher GE tax rate for full-year 2011,” Immelt said.

NBCU posted revenue growth of 12% in Q4 to $4.76 billion, while segment profit grew 38% to $830 million. For all of 2010 revenues were up 9% to $16.9 billion, with profits flat at $2.26 billion.

RBR-TVBR observation: Comcast shareholders will no doubt be happy to see that NBCU profits turned from a negative number to a positive one in the course of 2010. Business is clearly moving in the right direction for the owners-to-be.