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Imaging and ventilator sales drive Q4 profits for GE Healthcare

por 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.

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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