GM Posts Largest Profit in Nearly 11 Years

Michael Santo's picture

General Motors (GM) continues to do well now that it is out of its bankruptcy hole, as announced its fifth profitable quarter in a row on Thursday.

Additionally, GM's profit nearly quadrupled, year-over-year, from Q1 2010 when it had $865 million in profits. It saw net income of $3.2 billion, based on improving U.S. sales. That number is the company's biggest profit in nearly 11 years, when it earned $1.8 billion in the second quarter of the year 2000.

It seems to be something that would have been unthinkable not that long ago, after federal bailouts and bankruptcy reorganizations at GM (GM) and Chrysler about two years ago. Counting rivals Ford ( $2.6 billion) and Chrysler ($116 million) which also posted profits in the first quarter of 2011, this marks the first time since 2004 that all of Detroit's Big 3 automakers have been profitable at the same time.

To be clear, however, more than half of the company's profit in Q1 of 2011 came from a one-time gain due to sales of the company's interests in Delphi Automotive and Ally Financial's preferred stock. That said, even excluding those items (which amounted to $1.9 billion), the company still had a profit of $1.7 billion, or 95 cents a share. That profit still topped the forecast of 91 cents a share from analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters.

In terms of revenue, GM saw a rise to $36.2 billion, up $4.7 billion from the same period in 2010.

Looking at U.S. sales, GM sold more than 825,000 vehicles in the United States in the first quarter. That is a 25 percent gain from year-over-year, according to Autodata Corp. Similarly, the company has seen its share of the U.S. auto market grow nearly a full percentage point to 19.6 percent.

Chief Executive Dan Akerson said, in a statement that "We are on plan … thanks to strong customer demand for our new fuel-efficient vehicles and a competitive cost structure that allows us to leverage our strong brands around the world and focus on driving profitable automotive growth."

Investors did not seem impressed on Thursday. GM closed at $33.04 on Wednesday. It is down 2.72 percent, or 90 cents, at the time of this writing on Thursday. That places the stock below the IPO pricing from last November, of $33 per share.

Image Source: General Motors

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