GM Earnings Pave Way for New 52-Week High


General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) reported first-quarter 2013 results before markets opened this morning. The automaker posted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.67 on revenues of $36.9 billion. In the same period a year ago, the company reported EPS of $0.60 on revenues of $37.8 billion. First-quarter results also compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for EPS of $0.54 and $36.6 billion in revenues.

On a GAAP basis, GM posted EPS of $0.58, which excludes a net loss of $0.09 per share related to the devaluation of Venezuela's currency.

In its presentation accompanying today's announcement, the company said it would now report revenue and profitability in the segment in which it sells vehicles and that it would report segment volumes on a wholesale, not a production, basis. European sales of Chevrolet-branded vehicles continue to be reported in the International Operations segment, not the Europe segment.

As a result, year-over-year North American adjusted earnings before taxes (EBIT) was down $200 million year-over-year, European adjusted EBIT was down a like amount, International EBIT was flat and South American EBIT was down $200 million.

The company's CEO said:

The year is off to a solid start as we increased our global share with strong new products that are attracting customers around the world. In addition, we saw progress in Europe thanks to strong cost actions and great vehicles like the Opel Adam and Mokka.

About that "progress in Europe," GM posted an EBIT-adjusted loss of $200 million in the first quarter, which is better than the $300 million loss the company had in the first quarter of 2012. Sales in Europe fell by 17,000 vehicles year-over-year, but GM's market share actually rose, from 8.2% in the first quarter of 2012 to 8.3%.

It is hard to believe that GM's CEO put the company's flailing Opel cars at the top of his list of good news for the quarter. The company has slowed the rate of loss in its Opel division, but the German-made cars have lost so much money over the past decade or so that GM's best choice of what to do with Opel is to close it down. That will not happen because the German government will not let it, so GM has to pretend like something good is coming from Opel.

The earnings announce did not include guidance, but the consensus estimate for the second quarter calls for EPS of $0.80 on revenues of $38.82 billion. Full-year EPS is estimated at $3.35 on revenues of $156.42 billion.

GM's shares are trading up about 4% in premarket activity this morning at $31.40, a new 52-week high if it holds. The current 52-week range is $18.72 to $31.08. The consensus target price for the shares was around $35.10 before today's report.

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Autos, Earnings Tagged: featured, GM