SOURCE: The Bedford Report

The Bedford Report

August 03, 2011 08:16 ET

Profits Skyrocket at General Electric and 3M But Dividends Continue to Disappoint

The Bedford Report Provides Equity Research on General Electric and 3M

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Aug 3, 2011) - In recent quarters conglomerates have returned to pre-recession profit levels. While companies such as General Electric have made efforts to raise dividends, shareholder return typically remains lower than in 2007. The Bedford Report examines the outlook for companies in the Conglomerates Industry and provides equity research on General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) and 3M Co. (NYSE: MMM). Access to the full company reports can be found at:

Despite posting a 22 percent year-on-year gain in second quarter earnings, General Electric failed to boost its dividend payment. The company had raised its dividend in the three previous quarters as earnings have steadily improved following the recession. In the long-term, the company's Chairman and Chief Executive Jeff Immelt says the company aims to eventually return to its pre-recession tradition of predictable, annual increases in dividends.

GE's earnings reached $3.77 billion, or 35 cents a share, from $3.11 billion, or 28 cents, in the year-earlier period. Operating earnings were 34 cents versus 29 cents. Presently, General Electric pays an annual dividend of 60 cents a share, for a respectable yield of around 3.4 percent.

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3M currently pays an annual dividend of $2.20 a share for a yield of 2.5 percent. Last month the company said second-quarter profit rose 3.4 percent as slowing demand for films for LCD televisions dampened strong growth in its other businesses. Revenue rose 14 percent to a record $7.68 billion.

The Japan earthquake in March hurt sales growth by 2.4 percentage points, and cut 7 cents per share from 3M's profit.

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