General Electric Co. said that fourth-quarter profit fell 21%, its biggest quarterly decline in nine years, and that first-quarter earnings would drop as much as 10%.
About $1.4 billion in costs to increase insurance reserves caused fourth-quarter net income to fall to $3.1 billion, or 31 cents a share, from $3.93 billion, or 39 cents, a year earlier. Fewer shipments of power-plant turbines will drag first-quarter earnings down 5% to 10%, GE said.
GE had rising profit in its jet engine, commercial and consumer financing units and the NBC television network. Earnings fell in appliances, plastics and power systems, its biggest industrial unit. The company said the Employer's Reinsurance unit would be profitable this year and would not need more funding.
GE shares fell 15 cents to $24.88 in New York Stock Exchange trading.