Detroit: General Motors Corp. has reported an annual loss of $38.7 billion for 2007. The loss was the largest one ever for any automotive company. According to Standard & Poor's Compustat, the 2007 loss was also higher than GM's previous record in 1992, when the company lost $23.4 billion because of a change in health care accounting.
Excluding tax charges and other special items, GM lost $23 million, or 40 cents per share, for the year, compared with a net income of $2.2 billion in 2006 beating Wall Street's expectations, which had expected GM to post a full-year loss of 95 cents per share.
For the fourth quarter, GM posted a loss of $722 million, or $1.28 per share, against a net income of $950 million in the same quarter the previous year.
Fourth-quarter charges also included payment of $622 million to Delphi Corp., GM's former parts division, for its restructuring efforts, and a gain of $1.6 billion due to tax credits related to GM's pension liabilities and the sale of GM's Allison Transmission unit.
GM's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Rick Wagoner said that his company had succeeded in reducing structural costs in North America, negotiating a historic labor agreement and growing aggressively in Latin America and Asia in 2007. Wagoner also said the company's decision to reduce low-profit sales to daily rental companies by 110,000 in 2007 had also affected U.S. sales.
Wagoner said he was pleased with the positive improvement trend in its automotive results, especially given the challenging conditions in important markets like the U.S. and Germany.
The company is making new buyout offers to all of its 74,000 U.S. hourly workers represented by the United Auto Workers. Though it did not reveal the number of workers it would be able to shed, under the contract GM has drawn up with the UAW, it will be able to replace up to 16,000 non assembly line workers with employees who will be paid half the earlier remuneration of $28 per hour.
Speaking to analysts and media, the chief financial officer, Fritz Henderson, said the company sees the potential for significant earnings increases by 2010 or 2011, once the company has been able to reduces its work force and labor costs and can transfer its retiree health-care costs to a new UAW-run trust.
GM shares rose 44 cents to $27.56 in late morning trading.
GM has shown revenues of $181 billion for the year, down from $206 billion in 2006. Its automotive business saw record automotive revenues of $178 billion in 2007, up $7 billion from a year ago thanks to growth in emerging markets and favorable exchange rates.
GM has been profitable in every country outside North America. The company's Latin America, Middle East and Africa division has reported a record $1.3 billion in earnings, more than double that of 2006.
GM's Asia Pacific division earned $744 million, up from $403 million in 2006, while GM Europe showed a profit of $55 million, down from a profit of $357 million in 2006.
GM's North American operation has continued to struggle in the past couple of years, posting a $1.5 billion loss for 2007, almost the same as its $1.6 billion loss in 2006. The company's North American division also reported a loss of $1.1 billion in the fourth quarter, compared with a loss of $129 million in the year-ago quarter.
GM's results also were also affected by its 49 percent stake in GMAC Financial Services, which showed a loss of $2.3 billion in 2007. GM reported a $1.1 billion loss attributed to GMAC.
The company has barely managed to retain its title of the world's largest automaker in 2007, as it sold a measly 3,000 more vehicles than Toyota Motor Corp.
GM sold a total of 9,369,524 vehicles worldwide, up 3 percent from the year before.