General Telephone & Electronics Corp. earned $4.26 a share in 1978, up from $3.78 in 1977, on a 14 percent (Word Illegible) in revenues to $8.723 billion from (Word Illegible) billion.

Net income rose to $627.16 million from $543.04 million.

Fourth-quarter profits were $1.08 a share, up from 99 cents a year earlier. Revenues were $2.437 billion, up 16 percent from a year earlier.

Chairman Theodore F. Brophy said earnings for both 1978 and 1977 were reduced by reserves ordered by the California Public Utilities Commission. If enforced, the order would result in refunds of $18.88 million for 1978 and $16.62 million for 1977 by General Telephone of California.

Brophy said currency translation of GTE's Canadian subsidiary into U.S. dollars added 20 cents to 1978 earnings and 22 cents for 1977. He criticized the Financial Accounting Standards Board's requirement for these currency translations, saying it distorted the company's financial reports.

Brophy said telephone revenues rose 12 percent during the year; and products sales, 16 percent.

Columbia Pictures Industries Inc. reported sharply lower earnings in its second quarter compared to a year earlier when the hit film "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" boosted its profits.

The motion picture and entertainment company said yesterday that net income in the quarter ended Dec. 30 was $6.86 million 71 cents a share on revenues of $147.1 million. In the same quarter a year earlier, net income was $20.7 million ($2.22) on revenues of $131 million.

Although revenues in the latest period were higher than a year ago, company officials said profits were lower because of the "overall product mix" which last year included the release of the successful films, "The Deep" and early domestic earnings on "Close Encounters of the Third Kind."

In addition, 1977 earnings benefited from a one-time gain of $9.74 million ($1.05) on the company's sale of a leasehold on its New York offices.

For the first six months of its fiscal year, Columbia's net income was $18.06 million ($1.86 on revenue of $281.1 million. A year earlier, the company had net earnings of $36.7 million ($3.97) on revenue of $247.8 million.

Joseph Schitz Brewing Co. had an operating loss of $4.17 million in the fourth quarter, down from a loss of $10.4 million a year as revenues -- less excise taxes -- rose to $191.54 million from $187.3 million.

After bookkeeping provisions for income taxes, the loss for accounting purposes was reduced to $1.23 million from $4.82 million a year earlier.

For the year, Schlitz earned $11.96 million (41 cents a share) on net sales of $1.083 billion compared with $19.76 million (68 cents) in 1977, on net sales of $1.134 billion.

The 1978 results were affected adversely in the amount of $2.8 million by a reserve for the prospective sale or closing of the Honolulu brewery.

The company said the volume of beer sales and the margin of profit on the sales was down.

Hershey Foods Corp. earned $3.02 a share last year, up from $2.62 in 1977, on a rise in sales to $767.88 million from $671.23 million.

Net income rose to $41.45 million on continuing operations from $36.03 million.

Fourth-quarter net income was $14.21 million ($1.30) a year earlier on sales of $223.81 million compared with $14.21 million ($1.0) a year earlier on sales of $196.5 million.

High cocoa bean costs were a main factor in the downturn in fourth-quarter profits.