FARIFIELD, Conn. (AP) _ General Electric Co. expects to achieve double-digit growth next year despite poor economic conditions, the company's new chief executive said Monday.

Jeffrey Immelt offered the positive outlook in an internal memorandum sent to 300,000 employees, prior to the GE's analyst meeting next week.

``We will meet our commitments in 2001 in the face of a recession, the tragic events of 9/11, and many other disruptions in the economy,'' the memo states. ``What's more, we see only double-digit growth on the horizon for 2002 and beyond.''

The latest prediction is similar to Immelt's forecast in October when GE reported its last quarterly earnings. Immelt said the company remained confident that it will post double-digit earnings growth of $1.41 per share this year and double-digit growth next year as well.

Immelt, who took over GE's leadership when Jack Welch retired in September, said 70 percent of the Fairfield, Conn.-based conglomerate's business is in favorable markets such as power, medical and financial services.

``In our businesses that have been hard hit by the economy like NBC, plastics, lighting, industrial, appliances, we are outperforming our competition and will blossom when the recovery begins,'' Immelt said.

GE's financial strength will allow the company to ``seize opportunities'' in a downturn, Immelt said.