General Electric Co expects profit to be flat at its big industrial units next year as the world economy begins to recover from a brutal economic downturn.

We've positioned the company for solid earnings growth and cash flow growth in the future, Jeff Immelt, chief executive of the largest U.S. conglomerate told investors in New York on Tuesday. When we look at the near term, it's going to take investment, organic investment, to drive growth.

The world's biggest maker of jet engines and electricity producing turbines expects total revenue to be flat next year as well, with growth in service revenue offsetting weaker equipment revenue.

GE last year stopped giving Wall Street per-share profit forecasts, instead providing a framework of how it expects its various units to perform. Last week it told investors it looks for flat 2010 profit at its GE Capital finance arm.

The worst is behind us in financial services, Immelt said.

Analysts, on average, expect 2010 profit of 89 cents per share, compared with forecast earnings of 99 cents per share this year, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company expects operating profit at NBC to decline next year due to the high cost of broadcasting the Olympics.

Immelt acknowledged the Fairfield, Connecticut company had grown its GE Capital finance arm beyond a reasonable size.

We let it get too big and we got into businesses that weren't central to the GE core, Immelt said.

GE's recent successes in building its industrial portfolio included its growth in the oil and gas, life sciences and wind power industries, Immelt noted.

Future acquisitions will focus on expanding GE's position in industries it is already in, Immelt said.

If we do inorganic growth in the future, it's going to be in the key domains - not new platforms, Immelt said in a presentation where the long-running Saturday Night Live television program is filmed.

GE early this month reached a deal to sell a majority stake in its NBC Universal media business to No. 1 U.S. cable company Comcast Corp . To clear the way for that, it agreed to buy French media company Vivendi SA's stake in NBC.

Some of GE's blue-chip industrial peers last week told investors they expect to resume profit growth next year, with heavy cost-cutting beginning to offset the effects of a still-shaky global economy. United Technologies Corp forecast a 10 percent rise in earnings, while 3M Co looks for an increase of about 9 percent.

(Reporting by Scott Malone; editing by Gunna Dickson and Carol Bishopric)