How GE Makes Money

Aviation generates the most revenue and profits

General Electric Co. (GE) is a global industrial company that provides power generation, renewable energy, industrial aviation products, and healthcare products and services. The company also offers various financial products and services, although it has scaled back this part of its business significantly in recent years. GE serves customers in 130 countries and has manufacturing and service operations globally.

GE operates in industries that require continual investment in research and development. Major competitors include Honeywell International Inc. (HON), 3M Co. (MMM), German-based Siemens AG (SIEGY), and France-based Schneider Electric SE (SBGSF).

Note that on Nov. 9, 2021, GE announced that it plans to split into three public companies corresponding to its aviation, healthcare, and energy businesses. The healthcare spinoff is planned for early 2023. The energy business spinoff, scheduled for early 2024, will contain its businesses that manufacture turbines for power plants and for wind farms. GE will then focus on its aviation business.

Key Takeaways

  • GE operates aviation, power, renewable energy, and healthcare businesses.
  • Aviation currently generates the most profit and revenue for GE.
  • GE is focusing on its core industrial businesses and continues to shrink the size of its once-major financial services business.
  • GE announced in early February that it has agreed to sell GE Steam Power's nuclear power activities to France-based EDF Group.

GE's Financials

GE announced in late January financial results for Q4 of its 2021 fiscal year (FY), which ended Dec. 31, 2021. The company reported a net loss attributable to its common shareholders of $3.9 billion, a significant deterioration from net income of $2.4 billion in the year-ago quarter. Revenue fell 3.5% year over year (YOY) to $20.3 billion.

GE's total segment profit—combined profits generated by each of its industrial business segments—plus profits attributable to its corporate segment was $2.5 billion in the fourth quarter, down 33.3% YOY. Excluding the corporate segment, the company's total segment profit rose 14.3% YOY to $2.0 billion.

In its earnings press release, the company highlighted its solid profit margin, earnings per share (EPS), and free cash flow (FCF) performance in FY 2021. It noted that supply chain challenges and other factors adversely impacted its revenue during the year. But GE also added that its aviation business has begun to recover.

GE's Business Segments

GE operates through four industrial segments: Aviation, Healthcare, Renewable Energy, and Power. It provides a breakdown of segment profit and revenue for each of these business segments as well as a separate Corporate segment described in more detail below. Any negative revenue or segment profit is excluded from the pie charts above.


The Aviation segment designs and produces commercial and military aircraft engines, integrated engine components, electric power, and mechanical aircraft systems. It also provides aftermarket services to support its products.

The Aviation segment's profit rose 116.0% YOY to $1.2 billion in Q4 FY 2021. It comprised about 43% of total segment profit (including profit from the Corporate segment). Quarterly revenue rose 4.0% YOY to $6.1 billion, accounting for nearly 30% of the company's total revenue.


The Healthcare segment sells sophisticated healthcare products and technologies. It has expertise in medical imaging, digital solutions, patient monitoring and diagnostics, drug discovery, and performance improvement. The segment's products and services are primarily sold to hospitals and medical facilities worldwide.

The Healthcare segment's profit fell 19.7% YOY to $762 million in Q4 FY 2021, accounting for more than 27% of total segment profits (including corporate segment profits). Revenue for the quarter fell 4.1% YOY to $4.6 billion, comprising about 23% of total revenue.

Renewable Energy

The Renewable Energy segment offers renewable energy generation products, services, and integrated solutions. It provides onshore and offshore wind, blades, hydro, storage, and grid solutions, as well as hybrid renewables and digital services.

The Renewable Energy segment's loss widened to $312 million in Q4 FY 2021 from $87 million in the year-ago quarter. Revenue for the segment fell 5.6% YOY to $4.2 billion, comprising about 21% of companywide revenue.


The Power segment provides products and services related to energy production. Its products and technologies utilize oil, gas, fossil, diesel, and nuclear to produce electric power. This GE segment offers gas and steam turbines, a full balance of plant, upgrade, and service solutions, and data-leveraging software.

The Power segment's profit rose 1.0% YOY to $309 million in Q4 FY 2021. It comprised nearly 11% of total segment profits (including corporate segment profits). Revenue fell 13.4% YOY to $4.7 billion. It accounted for about 23% of GE's total revenue.


The Corporate segment includes results for GE's disposed businesses and certain amounts not included in operating segment results, as well as certain costs of the company's principal retirement plans, high-cost restructuring programs, and other costs. The segment includes results of the GE Digital business and the company's remaining GE Capital businesses.

The Corporate segment's profit fell 73.8% YOY to $531 million in Q4 FY 2021. It comprised about 19% of total segment profits during the quarter. Revenue for the segment rose 38.5% YOY to $745 million, accounting for about 4% of total revenue for the company.

GE's Recent Developments

On Feb. 10, 2022, GE announced that it has agreed to sell part of GE Steam Power's nuclear power activities to EDF Group, a France-based electric utility company. The transaction includes the Steam Power unit's conventional island equipment for new nuclear power plants, maintenance and upgrades for existing nuclear power plants, and steam turbine technology for future nuclear plants. GE would retain a steam power business focused on providing nuclear turbine services. Financial terms of the transaction, which is expected to close in the first half of 2023, were not disclosed. The agreement is a further example of GE's efforts to divest parts of its business that are outside its core focus.

Article Sources
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  1. General Electric Co. "Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021," Page 6.

  2. GE. "GE Directory."

  3. General Electric Co. "Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021," Page 4.

  4. GE. "GE Plans to Form Three Public Companies."

  5. General Electric Co. "Form 8-K dated Jan. 25, 2022," Page 7.


  7. General Electric Co. "Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021," Page 10.

  8. General Electric Co. "Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021," Page 12.

  9. General Electric Co. "Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021," Page 13.

  10. General Electric Co. "Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021," Page 15.

  11. General Electric Co. "Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021," Page 16.

  12. General Electric Co. "GE Signs an Exclusive Agreement to Sell Part of Steam Power’s Nuclear Activities to EDF."

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