General Electric reported fourth quarter financial results this morning. One number that jumped out was the staggering size of the company’s backlog: $200 billion in orders and commitments, the largest in GE history.
What are some of the products in high demand? Start with GE Aviation. The world’s largest and most powerful commercial jet engine, GE90, has had its most successful year in 2011. Airlines and freighter operators ordered 400 of the engines valued at $11 billion (list price).
The engine’s French-American cousins, the CFM56 and LEAP engines, also had a record year. CFM International, a joint company between GE Aviation and France’s Snecma, received orders and commitments for more than 2,900 CFM56 and LEAP engines valued at $30 billion. There is a good reason for the ecomagination-qualified LEAP to be popular. The engine can achieve double-digit improvements in fuel burn and emissions, and lower maintenance costs. The total GE Aviation backlog stood at $99 billion in equipment and services at the end of 2011.
GE Energy’s total backlog surpassed $72.7 billion at the end of last year. The unit received orders and commitments that included the new ecomagination-qualified FlexEfficiency 50 Combined Cycle Power Plant. GE invested $500 million to develop the technology. The system helps utilities efficiently incorporate power generated by renewable sources such as wind and solar farms. It can ramp up power production on a cloudy day in minutes, twice the rate of today’s energy benchmarks.
Other GE divisions that reported multi-billion backlogs include GE Healthcare ($3.9 billion in equipment), and GE Transportation ($3.3 billion in equipment).
“We feel good about where we are,” Jeff Immelt, GE chairman and chief executive, said on a call with analysts. “Organic growth looks solid with a $200 billion backlog.”