General Motors rose 2.95% on Tuesday to settle at $46.48 per share, helped along by the release of better-than-expected quarterly results. During the period, the group saw revenues come in at $33.6bn, 13.5% lower than recorded a year ago but higher than expectations of a decline to $32.72bn. Overall, the US’ largest car-maker reported a net loss of $2.98bn, or $2.03 per share, sharply lower than a profit of $2.77bn, or $1.17 per share, recorded a year ago. However, it must be noted that the slump was mainly due to the sale of its Opel/Vauxhall unit to France’s PSA Group. On an adjusted basis, General Motors saw earnings per share come in at $1.32, easily surpassing forecasts of $1.12.
On Monday a top executive from General Motors stated the group now expects US new vehicle sales to come in just above 17mn for 2017. This comes after the group saw US new vehicle sales reach a record high of 17.55mn vehicles in 2016. Previously, GM had stated it was expecting new vehicle sales to come in around the 17.5mn unit range, but this estimate has now been cut by between 200,000 and 300,000 units. Sales for the current year, which have already shown declines in the past three months, are expected to be weighed down by challenging pricing as well as a glut of nearly-new used vehicles.
As expected, France’s PSA Group announced on Monday it has agreed to buy Opel from General Motors in a deal which values the business at €2.2bn. As a result, PSA’s shares surged as much as 5.2% following the announcement, before ending 2.73% higher. In contrast, General Motors closed 0.84% lower, with the US-based car manufacturer set to receive €1.32bn for Opel’s manufacturing business and an additional €900mn for Opel’s financing arm. The PSA Group, which also manufacturers Peugeot and Citroen cars, will be aiming to return Opel and its British Vauxhall brand to profitability after Opel recently recorded its 16th consecutive full-year loss.
Yesterday news broke that German economy minister, Brigitte Zypries, expects the PSA Group’s proposed acquisition of General Motors’ Opel business to go ahead. Rumours of the acquisition of GM’s European arm by PSA, which controls Peugeot and Citroën, were first confirmed on 14 February. This has prompted alarm in both Berlin and London over possible job cuts. Since then, there have been conflicting reports over whether or not the plan is to close plants in the UK and Germany. At this stage, little is known about the terms of the proposed PSA-Opel deal, or whether GM would even keep a stake in the combined entity. The potential deal would create Europe’s second-largest car-maker, challenging the market leader Volkswagen, which is still vulnerable after the emissions scandal.
Yesterday saw General Motors jump 5.8%, following results that crushed expectation. Revenue for the period came in at $38.8bn, higher than expectations of $38.55bn, boosted by strong demand for trucks in North America. In addition, with the help of improved profit margins in China and North America, the group posted adjusted earnings of $1.50 per share, up from $0.97 a year earlier and much higher than expectations of an increase to $1.18 per share. However, it must be noted, that with a host of once-off items, including a recall and a $1.5bn settlement to the Justice Department, the group only delivered a net income of $0.84 cents per share.
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