NU Online News Service, Jan. 16, 2004, 5:42 p.m. EST – Shrinking assets cut profits at GE Financial Assurance, the financial services unit of General Electric Company, Fairfield, Conn., in the fourth quarter of 2003.[@@]

GE Financial Assurance is reporting $138 million in earnings for the quarter, down 54% from $302 million in earnings for the fourth quarter of 2002.

The unit’s assets fell 7%, to $109.1 billion.

But GE as a whole is reporting $4.6 billion in net income for the latest quarter on $37 billion in revenue, up from $3.1 billion in net income on $35.5 billion in revenue for the fourth quarter of 2002.

GE Financial is part of GE’s insurance holdings. GE plans to spin off the insurance holdings through an initial public offering that would create a new company, Genworth Financial Inc.