General Motors Corp.
(NYSE: GM) today announced a 2007 calendar-year adjusted net loss, excluding special items, of $23 million, or $.04 per diluted share. This compares to adjusted net income of $2.2 billion, or $3.84 per diluted share in 2006, as significantly improved automotive performance was offset by large losses at GMAC. Including special items, the company reported a loss of $38.7 billion, or $68.45 per diluted share, compared to a reported loss of $2 billion, or $3.50 per diluted share in 2006. The loss is almost entirely attributable to the non-cash $38.3 billion special charge in the third quarter related to the valuation allowance against deferred tax assets.
GM's core automotive business generated record revenue of $178 billion in 2007, a $7 billion improvement over 2006, aided by explosive growth in emerging markets and favorable foreign exchange against a weaker U.S. dollar. In total, GM generated $181 billion in revenue in 2007, compared with $206 billion in 2006. The decrease versus last year is due to the non-consolidation of GMAC revenue, following GM's sale of 51 percent of GMAC in November of 2006.
"2007 was another year of important progress for GM, as we implemented further significant structural cost reductions in North America, grew aggressively in emerging markets, negotiated an historic labor contract with our UAW partners in the U.S., advanced development of a broad range of advanced propulsion technologies and most importantly, introduced a series of breakthrough cars and trucks around the world," GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner said. "We're pleased with the positive improvement trend in our automotive results, especially given the challenging conditions in important markets like the U.S. and Germany, but we have more work to do to achieve acceptable profitability and positive cash flow," Wagoner added.
In the fourth quarter 2007, GM posted adjusted net income of $46 million or $.08 per diluted share, compared to adjusted net income of $180 million, or $.32 per diluted share in the year-ago period. Including special items, the company reported a net loss of $722 million, or $1.28 per diluted share in the fourth quarter 2007, compared to net income of $950 million, or $1.68 per diluted share in the year-ago period. The fourth quarter results reflect a $1.6 billion tax benefit in continuing operations related to SFAS No. 109 guidelines for intra-period tax allocations between continuing operations, other comprehensive income and discontinued operations.
Special charges recorded in the fourth quarter totaled $768 million, including an $805 million adjustment principally related to a favorable tax item related to the gain on the sale of Allison Transmission, which was offset by $622 million in charges associated with GM's support of Delphi's restructuring efforts, $552 million for pension benefits provided to Delphi employees and retirees and $290 million in other restructuring-related charges. De tails on special items are included in the "Highlights" section of the press release.
GM reported revenue of $47.1 billion in the fourth quarter versus $50.8 billion in the year ago period, with the decline more than accounted for by the exclusion of GMAC revenue starting December 1, 2006. Revenue from automotive operations totaled $46.7 billion in the quarter, a $3 billion increase over the prior year and a new quarterly revenue record, reflecting strong growth in Latin America, Asia Pacific and Eastern Europe.
Beginning in the fourth quarter of 2007 and reflected in the remainder of this release, GM will report its automotive operations and regional results on a pre-tax basis, with taxes reported on a total corporate basis.
GM Automotive Operations
GM's global automotive operations posted adjusted earnings before tax of $553 million in 2007 (reported loss of $1.9 billion), compared to an adjusted loss before tax of $339 million in 2006 (reported loss of $6.1 billion). In the fourth quarter 2007, GM's automotive operations had an adjusted loss before tax of $803 million (reported loss of $1.2 billion), compared to adjusted earnings before tax of $8 million in the year-ago quarter (reported loss of $111 million).
GM's worldwide vehicle sales increased 3 percent, or 277,000 units, to 9.4 million vehicles in 2007, marking the second best year in units sold in the company's 100-year history. For the third consecutive year, a majority of the company's sales – almost 60 percent – were outside of the U.S. Record sales performance was achieved in key growth markets throughout Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Asia Pacific.
GM North America (GMNA) posted an adjusted loss before tax of $1.5 billion for 2007 (reported loss of $3.3 billion), compared to a loss before tax of $1.6 billion in the year-ago period, excluding special items (reported loss of $7.5 billion). GMNA had an adjusted loss before tax of $1.1 billion in the fourth quarter (reported loss of $1.3 billion), compared to an adjusted loss before tax of $129 million in the fourth quarter 2006 (reported loss of $30 million).
Losses for the year in GMNA were largely attributable to a softer U.S. market, and the strategic actions to reduce dealer inventory by approximately 150,000 units and lower sales of daily rental vehicles by about 110,000 vehicles in the U.S. High commodity prices, unfavorable foreign exchange and lower unit sales exerted pressure on profitability, but were more than offset by better product mix, stronger pricing, and significantly reduced manufacturing and legacy costs. GMNA also incurred higher engineering costs to support continuing product and technology development activities.
"Our North America turnaround remains on track despite the weak U.S. economy and continued high commodity prices," Wagoner said. "The actions we've taken to further reduce structural costs and strengthen our product lineup with great new vehicles like the award-winning Chevrolet Malibu and Cadillac CTS are fundamentally improving our ability to compete in the U.S. and around the world. We're building a solid foundation for continued growth and improved operating results," Wagoner added.
GM reached its structural cost reduction target of $9 billion in North America in 2007 versus 2005, a key part of reducing global automotive structural cost as a percent of revenue from 34 percent in 2005 to 29.7 percent in 2007. GM expects to derive additional structural cost savings of $4 billion to $5 billion by 2010 in the U.S. as it fully implements the 2007 GM-UAW contract, including the independent healthcare trust. These savings will help GM reach its goal to reduce structural cost as a percent of revenue to 25 percent of revenue by 2010, and further to 23 percent of revenue by 2012.
GM Europe (GME) posted its second consecutive year of adjusted profitability in 2007 with earnings before tax of $55 million (reported loss of $524 million), down from earnings before tax of $357 million in 2006, excluding special items (reported loss of $297 million). For the fourth quarter GME posted an adjusted loss before tax of $215 million (reported loss of $445 million) versus an adjusted loss before tax of $12 million in the year ago period (reported loss of $154 million). The decline in calendar year and fourth quarter earnings were attributable primarily to a markedly softer German market as well as unfavorable foreign exchange rates. Other key areas of GME's business performed relatively well, including strong sales outside Germany, increases in net pricing, and improvements in structural and material cost performance.
GME sales were up 8.9 percent in 2007 to a record 2.2 million units, led by Chevrolet, up 34 percent, Opel/Vauxhall, up 4.3 percent and Cadillac up 31 percent. Strong demand for GM vehicles in the United Kingdom, Ukraine, Italy, Greece and Russia – where sales doubled to 260,000 units – made the company the fastest growing major automobile manufacturer in Europe in 2007. Financial results generated from the rapidly growing sales of GM Daewoo-built Chevrolet vehicles in Europe are consolidated in Korea and reflected in GM Asia Pacific (GMAP) results.
With a 19 percent increase in sales to a record 1.2 million units in 2007, GM Latin America, Africa, Middle East (GMLAAM) achieved a record $1.3 billion in adjusted earnings before tax for the year (reported income of $1.3 billion), up 140 percent over 2006 adjusted earnings of $561 million (reported income of $518 million). GMLAAM also set a sales record in the fourth quarter with 341,000 units, up 18 percent year over year, generating $424 million in adjusted earnings before tax (reported income of $424 million), up from $76 million in the fourth quarter of 2006 (reported income of $76 million). Robust sales in the GMLAAM region resulted in record revenue of $18.9 billion for the calendar year and $6 billion in the fourth quarter.
The year-over-year gain in GMLAAM pre-tax earnings was largely driven by strong volume growth, which outpaced industry growth, as well as favorable price and mix. Robust sales contributed to record GM sales in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Egypt and Venezuela in 2007. Continued strong sales of the Chevrolet Corsa, Aveo and Celta throughout the region were complemented by the successful launch of several new entries, including the Chevrolet Captiva in Latin America and Chevrolet Suburban and Cadillac Escalade in the Middle East. Chevrolet sales in the region were up 23 percent for the calendar year, and accounted for 90 percent of units sold in GMLAAM in 2007.
GMAP posted adjusted earnings before tax of $744 million in 2007 (reported income of $681 million) compared to $403 million (reported income of $1.2 billion) for 2006. GMAP adjusted earnings before tax for the fourth quarter were $72 million (reported income also $72 million), compared to $105 million in fourth quarter of 2006 (reported income of $29 million). The calendar year earnings gain was driven by favorable volume and mix, increased equity income from GM's China joint ventures and improved operating performance at Holden. The results were partially offset by increased structural cost increases associated with continued investment in high growth markets and lower Suzuki equity income resulting from the sale of a majority of GM's equity in 2006.
GMAP had continued strong performance in China, where domestic sales grew 18.5 percent in 2007 and GM, with its local partners, became the first global automotive manufacturer to sell more than 1 million vehicles. In addition, GM sales in India rose 74 percent, and export sales of the GM Daewoo products built in Korea increased by 30 percent to 870,000 vehicles.
On a standalone basis, GMAC Financial Services reported a net loss of $2.3 billion in 2007, compared with net income of $2.1 billion in 2006. Profitable results in the global automotive and insurance businesses were more than offset by the significant loss at Residential Capital, LLC (ResCap). In the fourth quarter, GMAC reported a net loss of $724 million, compared to net income of $1.0 billion in the fourth quarter of 2006. The effect on ResCap of the continued disruption in the mortgage, housing and capital markets was the primary driver of adverse performance.
GM reported a $1.1 billion net loss attributable to GMAC, as a result of its 49 percent equity interest and preferred dividends received for the full year 2007, and a $394 million reported net loss for the fourth quarter.
While market conditions remain uncertain, GMAC has taken aggressive actions in 2007 across all its businesses in an effort to mitigate future risk, rationalize the cost structure and position the company for growth. As a result, GMAC currently expects to be profitable in 2008. GMAC's liquidity position is at relatively high historical levels and GM be lieves that GMAC remains adequately capitalized.
Cash and Liquidity
Cash, marketable securities and readily available assets of the Voluntary Employees Beneficiary Association (VEBA) trust totaled $27.3 billion as of December 31, 2007, up from $26.4 billion as of December 31, 2006. GM ended the 2007 calendar year with negative adjusted automotive operating cash flow of $2.4 billion, a significant $2 billion improvement compared to 2006. It marks the second consecutive year-over-year improvement in operating cash flow for all four of GM's operating regions.
Consistent with past years, GM withdrew $2.7 billion from the VEBA in December, leaving a balance of $16.3 billion at 2007 year-end, of which the UAW related portion is estimated at $14.5 billion. In negotiations with the UAW and UAW retiree class counsel on a Settlement Agreement involving the healthcare MOU that will shortly be filed with the court, the parties have agreed in principle that of the $18.5 billion that was agreed to be set aside upfront for future retiree healthcare claims, the difference of approximately $4 billion will be funded with a short term note maturing January 2010 with interest at 9 percent. This will enhance interim liquidity for GM and provide the UAW and plan participants a 9 percent return.
The parties have also agreed in principle, as part of the overall Settlement Agreement, to execute a series of derivatives that would effectively reduce the conversion price of the convertible note from $40 to $36, and would entitle GM to recover the additional economic value provided if the GM stock price appreciates to between $63.48 and $70.53 per share.
Despite the uncertainty in the U.S. market, the company announced it expects improved pre-tax automotive earnings in 2008 versus 2007, largely driven by continued strong performance in emerging markets. GM expects improvements in automotive revenue, favorable pricing, favorable material cost performance and continued reductions in structural cost as a percentage of revenue in the 2008 calendar year. Operating cash flow is expected to be relatively flat in 2008 versus 2007, despite planned increases in capital spending to about $8 billion, up from $7.5 billion in 2007.
GM remains confident in the 2010-2011 opportunities to further improve earnings and cash flow. Most notable is the potential to realize the full impact of the GM-UAW labor agreement which is expected to provide significantly greater flexibility and yield additional savings of $4 billion to $5 billion. In addition, GM estimates that if the U.S. market volume returns to trend levels in 2009 and beyond, which would be an increase of 1 million units, the change would generate additional pre-tax income to GM in the range of approximately $1 billion to $1.5 billion annually. GM also expects to reduce a substantial portion of the cost premiums it has historically paid to Delphi for systems and components over the next three to five years. The savings will be offset by various labor and transitional subsidies of $300-400 million per year under Delphi's plan of reorganization, however GM expects to achieve annual net savings over the mid-term of approximately $500 million.
In addition, significant additional opportunities to further improve GM earnings and cash flow by 2010-2011 include improved pricing driven by a host of new products, continued strong growth in revenue and profitability in emerging markets, and improved performance at GMAC.