Washington, Jumada II 17, 1435, Apr 17, 2014, SPA -- General Electric Company (GE) posted lower first-quarter net profit than a year ago, because last year’s results included the sale of its NBC Universal television and film unit, but the conglomerate said its industrial divisions performed well and the economic environment was “positive.” GE reported Thursday that its profit in the January-March period fell to $3 billion from $3.5 billion in the same quarter a year earlier. Revenue fell 2.1 percent to $34.2 billion from $34.9 billion a year ago. The profit figure narrowly beat Wall Street estimates, while the revenue figure missed expectations. The company backed its previous 2014 financial targets. GE sold its remaining interest in NBC Universal last year as part of a plan to focus on building and servicing complex industrial equipment like aircraft engines, power-plant turbines, and oil and natural-gas drilling equipment. The company has been able to grow its revenue and profit at such industrial divisions in recent quarters. Operating profit from industrial operations rose 12 percent in the first quarter. The oil and gas, power and water, and aviation divisions all posted sharply higher profits. Transportation and appliances fell, along with the company’s small energy-management division. GE has a good view of the global economy because it has manufacturing plants and sales operations around the world. GE recently reported that European operations performed better than expected, while developing countries saw growth. Its U.S. business improved in March, evidence that the slowdown this winter was related to unusually cold weather.