GM Doubles First Quarter Profit Over Last Year

Posted by at 9:38 am on April 21, 2016

GM LogoGeneral Motors Co.’s first-quarter net profit more than doubled compared with the same period a year ago, as strong U.S. truck sales and improved performance in Europe overshadowed weaker results in emerging markets.

The largest U.S. auto maker by sales reported net income attributable to common shareholders of $2 billion, or $1.24 a share, up from $900 million, or 56 cents a share a year earlier. Excluding special items, GM said its operating profit was $2.7 billion compared with $2.1 billion in the first quarter of 2015.

Revenue increased 4% to $37.3 billion, from $35.7 billion in the same period year ago, higher than Wall Street expectations. Last year’s first-quarter earnings were negatively affected by currency exchange and charges related to a safety crisis that first emerged in early 2014.

Thursday’s earnings report was another building block for Chief Executive Mary Barra as she pursues a goal of making the company the most valued car company in the world. Profit growth is one of the pillars of a strategy that also includes investing heavily in future technology and narrowing the company’s focus on more lucrative markets and vehicle segments.

First-quarter profit results beat analyst expectations of $1 a share by nearly 25 cents, and GM reported higher pretax earnings in every segment and geographic region versus a year ago. The company’s stock traded up 2% to $32.81 in morning trading on Thursday.

A modest drop in its North American margin to 8.7% of sales from 8.8% came after GM worked to boost the profitability of its U.S. business during the period. The auto maker has been dialing back on sales to rental car fleets, focusing instead on retail deliveries.

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