General Electric CEO and Chairman Jeffrey Immelt
General Electric CEO and Chairman Jeffrey Immelt REUTERS

General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) said on Friday that its second-quarter earnings excluding pension costs fell 8 percent to $3.7 billion, or 36 cents per share, from a year earlier.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected earnings of 35 cents per share, so GE performed slightly better than their expectations.

Revenue fell 4 percent to $35.12 billion, which was slightly lower than analysts’ expectations of $35.56 billion.

Analysts had expected that less business for GE’s power and water unit could drag down earnings, even as its other businesses in industry, oil and gas and finance held up well.

Revenue from the power and water unit was down 17 percent from a year earlier, even as nearly all of GE’s other units scored revenue gains or held incomes steady.

“Unfavorable volume timing” for the power and water unit contributed to the problem, according to the company.

William Blair & Co. analyst Nicholas Heymann described the quarterly earnings as “anemic,” in a phone interview with the International Business Times.

“It’s certainly getting the job done, but it’s not winning any medals,” Heymann said. “Basically you had a lower tax rate helping them out, and unusually strong performance from the GE real estate business.”

GE won $26 billion in orders at the Paris Airshow, though Heymann previously told IBTimes that the figure compares poorly to prior years.

The company also announced a record backlog in orders and progress in slimming the portfolio of its financial arm, GE Capital.

Heymann cited the company’s improvement in its industrial operating margins, up 50 basis points, as a positive in its earnings report. But he also said the figure was merely in line with initial expectations.

“This quarter we delivered industrial segment profit growth,” GE CEO Jeff Immelt said in a statement. “We continue to execute on operational priorities within our control: achieving our cost-out goals, maintaining a very strong cash position, reducing the size of GE Capital, and returning substantial cash to shareholders.”

The company maintained its guidance for the rest of the year. In May, Immelt said GE expects revenue growth of zero to five percent for 2013, with $500 million of cutbacks in corporate costs.