US industrial conglomerate General Electric on Friday posted a 16 percent rise in profit for 2011 but capped the year with a weak final quarter amid slow growth in debt-wracked Europe.
GE reported full-year net profit of $13.12 billion compared with $11.34 billion in 2010.
But fourth-quarter profit fell 16 percent year-on-year, to $3.73 billion, the company said in a statement.
Net revenues fell 2.0 percent to $147.3 billion for the year and 8.0 percent for the quarter, to $37.97 billion.
Both revenue figures were well below market expectations.
GE explained that fourth-quarter revenues were hit in part by "slower growth in Europe," where the eurozone debt crisis has braked economic activity.
Despite the tough October-December period, GE said its outlook for 2012 remained upbeat after winning record infrastructure orders of $28.6 billion in the fourth quarter.
The sprawling multinational conglomerate, seen as a bellwether of the global economy with businesses including aircraft engines, energy, home appliances and finance, said it ended the year with a backlog of $200 billion, the largest in its history.
"GE's portfolio demonstrated strength and resilience, delivering earnings growth for the seventh consecutive quarter while also generating substantial operating cash flow to support investment in our business and dividend growth," GE chairman and chief executive Jeff Immelt said in the statement.
"We are confident in our 2012 framework to realize double-digit earnings growth in our Industrial and Capital segments," he added.
Shares in GE, which reported the earnings before the markets opened, were 0.9 percent lower at $18.97 in midday New York trade, paring earlier losses.
"We think the sales weakness should not be a surprise and note the forward-looking indicators such as order intake... are encouraging," said Julian Mitchell, a Credit Suisse analyst.
GE Capital, which had dragged down earnings during the 2008 financial crisis, had a fourth-quarter profit of $1.62 billion, up 58 percent from the same period in 2010.
"GE Capital is safe and secure and rebounding sharply. We are restructuring our businesses in Europe to reflect market conditions," Immelt said.
But earnings at GE's flagship energy infrastructure business were flat in the final quarter, and fell 9.0 percent on a full-year basis.
The Fairfield, Connecticut-based company said it had ended the year with a cash pile of $85 billion.
Its strong cash position enabled the company to repurchase $5.4 billion of stock during the year, including $3.3 billion of high-dividend preferred stock held by tycoon Warren Buffett's investment firm Berkshire Hathaway.
GE said it had bought $7.1 billion in stock since 2010.
In a conference call with analysts, Immelt said GE plans to keep about $80 billion in cash in 2012 and target dividends and share buybacks.
"We don't need acquisitions -- I wouldn't look for us to do big acquisitions, we've got a pretty full pipeline of new products," he said.
GE's investment in research and development last year was 16 percent higher than in 2010. The company plans to launch more than 800 new products in 2012.