GE Healthcare's fourth-quarter profit, sales drop

GE Healthcare announced Friday that fourth-quarter profit fell 4 percent year-over-year to just over $1 billion, "driven by price and [foreign exchange] headwinds," while revenue was flat at $5.1 billion. The company noted that despite the "tough environment" for healthcare, it had a "strong" quarter in the US, where sales were up 7 percent from the year-ago period. For the full year, GE Healthcare posted a flat profit at $3 billion compared with 2013, while revenue rose 1 percent $18.3 billion.

Healthcare orders during the quarter increased 1 percent overall to $5.5 billion, with equipment and service purchases up 2 percent and down 1 percent, respectively, to $3.4 billion and $2.1 billion. GE also highlighted "encouraging signs" in the US healthcare market, where quarterly orders gained 9 percent, and equipment orders were 17 percent higher boosted by the recent launches of its Revolution CT scanner and Voluson E10 women's health ultrasound, which sold 294 units.

In other results, GE reported that revenue in the three-month period increased 1 percent year-on-year in developed markets, while sales in emerging markets slipped by 1 percent.

Also in the quarter, John Flannery was appointed CEO of GE Healthcare, succeeding John Dineen who had stepped down to "look at new leadership opportunities outside GE."

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