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Wally Edgar CHEVROLET - GENERAL MOTORS earns first profit since 2004
GENERAL MOTORS on Thursday reported its first annual profit since 2004, capping an impressive turnaround by the once-troubled automaker.
GM's bankruptcy, financed by the U.S. and Canadian governments, allowed the company to shed debt, excess factories, four of its weaker brands and many other costs.
The nation's largest automaker, GM earned $4.7 billion for the year. That ends a string of five years of losses during which the cumulative red ink topped $100 billion. The profit was the biggest at the company since 1999.
In the fourth quarter, the company earned $510 million, or 31 cents a share, compared to a loss of $3.5 billion a year earlier. But excluding a charge related to the purchase of preferred shares, the company earned 52 cents a share in the quarter, which is better than forecasts of a 46 cent a share profit from analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters.
The profit is good news for the nearly 50,000 hourly workers at GM's U.S. factories who will get profit-sharing bonuses averaging $4,300, the largest in the company's history and a bit better than had been promised to them in a letter last week.
Workers at rival Ford Motor received bonus checks of about $5,000, and Chrysler Group expects to pay yet undisclosed performance bonuses to its workers, despite continued losses there.
Shares of GM gained slightly in pre-market trading following the report. Shares have tumbled 5% in the last two days on the spike in oil prices sparked by unrest in Libya.
Chris Isidore, senior writer
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