General Electric Co expects to post a higher profit this year, resume share buybacks and say by the end of the year whether it will raise its dividend, its CEO said on Wednesday.
You're going to see really strong earnings growth over the next couple of years, Jeff Immelt, chief executive of the largest U.S. conglomerate, told an analyst meeting in Florida.
The world's largest maker of jet engines and electricity-producing turbines expects orders to rise in the second quarter and to post higher quarterly revenue, Immelt said.
GE views its shares as attractively priced below $22, a level they have not seen since October 2008, and plans to resume share buybacks later this year, he said.
Company officials have said that they expect to begin raising the dividend -- which they cut by 68 percent during the downturn -- next year, in line with earnings.
Pressed by analysts on whether an announcement about a dividend increase was likely to come this year, Immelt said, that would be my expectation. He said the board would have to approve any movement on the payout, which stands at 10 cents per share each quarter.
GE stopped providing per-share profit guidance, instead offering investors a framework spelling out how it expects its units to perform. This year's framework, first issued in December, anticipated profit to be roughly flat with last year's level.
Analysts, on average, look for second-quarter profit of 27 cents per share, excluding one-time items, with full-year earnings seen coming to $1.08, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
GE shares were unchanged at $17.24 on the New York Stock Exchange.
(Reporting by Scott Malone, editing by Dave Zimmerman and Robert MacMillan)