December 17, 2012 / 8:51 PM / 5 years ago

CORRECTED-UPDATE 1-GE sees 2013 sales flat to up 5 pct, 'cliff' a worry

(Corrects to clarify that only GE’s industrial revenue, instead of company-wide revenue, is expected to rise by 8 percent this year, para 7)

* Sees 2013 earnings up, doesn’t say by how much

* “Fiscal cliff” standoff hurting demand, CEO says

By Ernest Scheyder

NEW YORK, Dec 17 (Reuters) - General Electric Co expects revenue to be flat to up 5 percent in 2013, with strong overall demand for industrial equipment partly offset by declining sales of wind turbines.

It also said concerns about the “fiscal cliff” were hurting sales.

The company, in a presentation prepared for a meeting with investors in New York on Monday afternoon, said it expects profit to rise next year but did not say by how much.

GE, world’s largest maker of jet engines and electric turbines, further said it aims to boost profit margins by 70 basis points in 2013.

But Chief Executive Jeff Immelt warned investors that the slow progress of negotiations in Washington to head off a year-end fiscal cliff of higher taxes and government spending cuts was taking a toll on business.

“There’s no doubt the fiscal uncertainty slowed activity in the fourth quarter of the year,” said Immelt, who is a top adviser to U.S. President Barack Obama on the economy and also a member of a coalition of top U.S. CEOs pushing for a debt deal.

As a result, GE’s 2012 industrial revenue, a measure that excludes the company’s sizable finance business, will be up about 8 percent, below the 10 percent target Immelt discussed with investors in September.

The Fairfield, Connecticut-based company no longer provides numeric, per-share profit forecasts, a practice it abandoned during the recession.

Analysts, on average, expect GE’s earnings to rise about 12 percent to $1.69 per share next year, excluding one-time items, with revenue increasing 2 percent to $150.57 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

GE shares were up 17 cents, or less than 1 percent, at $21.79 in afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange. (Writing by Scott Malone; editing by Gary Hill)

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