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Imaging and ventilator sales drive Q4 profits for GE Healthcare

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | January 29, 2021
Business Affairs
GE Healthcare earned $4.8 billion in the Q4 2020
GE Healthcare racked up $4.8 billion in the fourth quarter of 2020, a 15% dive from its revenue in Q4 2019.

The company saw revenues fall 10% for the full year and attributed the decline to the absence of its BioPharma business, which it sold for $21.4 billion in March 2020. Sales of ventilators during the COVID-19 pandemic and imaging solutions, however, drove profits up 27%, with healthcare revenue growing 6%. GE’s healthcare systems business was up 1%, excluding BioPharma.

“Systems was up 1% organically with strength in Europe and China, and Pharmaceutical Diagnostics was down 1% organically. Revenues of $4.8 billion were down 11% reported and up 6% organically, primarily driven by growth in Life Care Solutions, including strong delivery of Carescape R860 ventilators as well as Imaging and Ultrasound volumes,” said the company in its quarterly report.

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Having decreased, demand for ventilators may not be as helpful throughout 2021, with the company recently laying off 140 workers it hired to help produce the devices for COVID-19 patients.

The easing of lockdown restrictions and ramping back up of non-COVID-19 procedures contributed to imaging and ultrasound sales. Order growth improved sequentially but did not rise as high as sales. The segment profit for the healthcare division was $949 million, down 17% and up 27% organically due mainly to cost reductions and increases in Healthcare Systems volume.

GE Healthcare earned over $18 billion for the full year and a segment profit of more than $3 billion for 2020, which was 18% lower than the $3.7 billion it took home in 2019.

GE expects low-single-digit sales growth in 2021 for its entire business, assuming that healthcare scans return to pre-COVID-19 levels and demand for pharmaceutical diagnostics recovers. The company plans to help in this effort by investing in its healthcare systems business.

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