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GE jumps as aviation revival spurs company to lift cash outlook

A GE Aviation CF6-80C jet engine hangs from the wing of an Airbus A300-600 Beluga super transporter aircraft.
A GE Aviation CF6-80C jet engine hangs from the wing of an Airbus A300-600 Beluga super transporter aircraft.Balint Porneczi/Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) — General Electric climbed as growth in the jet-engine division prompted the company to raise its cash outlook, fueling optimism that improving air travel will give a boost to Chief Executive Officer Larry Culp’s turnaround effort.

Free cash flow for industrial operations will be $3.5 billion to $5 billion this year, the company projected Tuesday. Boston-based GE previously forecast $2.5 billion to $4 billion.

GE jumped 3.7 percent to $13.40 before the start of regular trading in New York. The stock had advanced 20 percent this year through Monday while the S&P 500 climbed 18 percent.

Results were aided by the comparison with the year-earlier quarter, when GE experienced its worst effects from the Covid-19 pandemic. The impact has extended the timeline for Culp’s multiyear push to turn around the maker of jet engines, medical scanners and power-generation equipment. Sales in the aviation operation climbed 10 percent to $4.84 billion.

During nearly three years as CEO, Culp has cut debt, sold assets and pushed to improve the company’s daily operations to reverse the epic collapse that had led to his appointment. The company surprised Wall Street with better-than-expected cash flow in the second half of last year.

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Central to that goal will be the commercial aerospace business — principally, making and servicing jet engines — which the company has said would start to see a gradual recovery during this year’s second half as travelers return to the skies.

The metric is closely watched by investors as a signal of underlying profit. The latest results exclude a negative impact stemming from GE’s decision to reduce its sales of receivables to a partner to raise short-term funds, a practice known as factoring.

Second-quarter adjusted earnings were 5 cents a share, compared with a 15-cent loss a year earlier. Analysts expected a 4 cents for the latest period. Sales rose 8.8 percent to $18.3 billion, while Wall Street anticipated $18.1 billion.

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