General Electric (GE -0.35%) delivered second-quarter results before the bell Tuesday that were well ahead of expectations. Investors reacted with a cheer, sending GE shares up as much as 6.8% in morning trading. As of 12:08 p.m., the stock was still up by 6.4%.
General Electric has fallen considerably since its heyday -- the stock is down by more than 70% over the past five years. Investors have endured a number of CEO changes and failed attempts to restructure, and the pandemic slowed the company's progress in rebuilding its business.
But current CEO Larry Culp has done a lot to restore GE's credibility with investors, and the second-quarter results contributed to that momentum. GE reported adjusted earnings of $0.78 per share on revenue of $18.65 billion, easily surpassing the consensus estimates for earnings of $0.38 per share on revenue of $17.6 billion.
The company's aerospace division, which took it on the chin earlier in the pandemic as airlines significantly scaled back their flight schedules, was particularly strong in Q2. Aerospace revenue was up 27% year over year and profit margin increased by 1,510 basis points to 18.7%. Aerospace services delivered revenue growth of 47%.
Management did warn that supply chain issues and an uncertain macro environment continue to weigh on results. GE said it "continues to trend" toward the low end of its 2022 estimates, and warned that supply chain issues are impacting working capital and will likely delay some of its free cash flow targets into 2023.
Perhaps the most important news from management was that GE is well on its way toward completing its planned split into a trio of more-focused companies. Last November, GE announced its plan to separate its aerospace, healthcare, and energy assets into independent entities.
In theory, the split will give each unit more flexibility in navigating the particulars of its own industry. Aerospace, for example, will be able to make decisions on how to allocate capital based on expected demand for aircraft engines without having to worry about the cash needs of the energy business.
General Electric has appeared rudderless for the better part of the 21st century, but for the first time in recent memory, the company appears not only to have a plan but also to be successfully executing on it. Long-term GE shareholders finally have something to be excited about.