GM sees earning rebound

first_imgAlso Wednesday, GM said that as part of the GMAC sale, it will pay $1 billion to GMAC by the end of the month to raise its equity to where it was on Nov. 30, when the deal closed. The payment is necessary because of deterioration in GMAC’s residential mortgage results due in large part to subprime loans, and earnings restatements by GMAC, GM said. David Healy, an analyst with Burnham Securities and a GM shareholder, said that despite the GMAC loan problems, GM is poised to have more profitable quarters in 2007. “I think the recovery is still intact,” he said, adding that GM will see a full year of its North American cost cuts, plus its new pickups and luxury sport utility vehicles are selling well. “Cost-cutting and a richer mix of launch vehicles through at least the first half of 2007 should help maintain this positive trend,” Merrill Lynch analyst John Murphy said in a note to investors. Henderson said GM’s automotive operations performed better than expected for the quarter with increased revenue in North America due to higher transaction prices and higher sales volumes and revenues overseas. Worldwide, the company said it made $228 million selling cars and trucks for the quarter and $422 million for the calendar year. Its North American automotive operations lost $14 million for the quarter and $779 million for the year, but the annual figures were $5 billion better than the previous year, Henderson said. GM also cut structural costs by $6.8 billion last year due mainly to buyouts and early retirement offers accepted by more than 34,000 hourly workers. It expects to reap the results of $9 billion in cost cuts this year. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! DETROIT – In a region battered by the loss of thousands of automotive jobs and whose primary industry has been awash in red ink, news of a $950 million fourth-quarter net profit from General Motors Corp. should have been met with a parade. But the bad news of the past year or so has even GM reacting cautiously, with Chief Financial Officer Fritz Henderson a little reserved about saying the profit is a sign that its dark times are coming to an end. “I would say no one’s declaring victory, though, at this point at General Motors. Nobody,” Henderson said after its 2006 earnings were announced Wednesday. “The objective is to build a successful, profitable enterprise going forward.” Yet Henderson and some industry analysts say the profit is a foundation for the world’s largest automaker to recover from a $10.4 billion loss in 2005 and a $2 billion overall net loss for the full year in 2006. “An important step is where I’d put it, but just that, and we’re focused on ’07,” Henderson said. He wouldn’t predict whether GM, which is undergoing a massive overhaul that includes shedding thousands of jobs and closing plants to become more competitive with Asian automakers, would make money this year. But he did promise that the company would continue to improve its year-over-year performance. GM’s positive fourth-quarter results included $770 million in special items attributed mainly to the sale of a 51 percent stake in its financial arm, General Motors Acceptance Corp., to an investment group led by Cerberus Capital Management. But GM said it would have made $180 million in the quarter without the GMAC proceeds and other items. Subprime loan problems had a negative impact on GM’s balance sheet, though, with the company taking a $284 million loss from GMAC to its bottom line in the fourth quarter. GM’s financial results were delayed by accounting troubles and last year’s sale of the GMAC stake. Overall, its fourth-quarter revenue declined to $51.2 billion from $51.7 billion in the last quarter of 2005, and GM attributed the drop to the exclusion of GMAC revenue starting Dec. 1. last_img read more