Losses in Europe Continue to Plague GM

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General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) reported fourth-quarter and full-year 2012 results before markets opened this morning.

For the quarter, the automaker posted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.54 on revenues of $39.3 billion. In the same period a year ago, the company reported EPS of $0.28 on revenues of $38 billion. Fourth-quarter results also compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for EPS of $0.51 and $39.14 billion in revenues.

For the full year, EPS came in at $2.92 on revenues of $152.3 billion, compared with EPS of $4.58 on revenues of $150.3 billion in 2011. The consensus estimate called for full-year EPS of $3.26 on revenues of $151.48 billion.

The company’s CEO said:

We recorded another solid year in 2012 as we grew the business, delivered a third straight year of profitability and took significant actions to put the company on a solid path for future growth. This year our priorities will be executing flawless new vehicle launches, controlling costs and delivering more vehicles to our customers at outstanding value.

The earnings announce did not include guidance, but the consensus estimate for the current quarter calls for EPS of $0.64 on revenues of $37.18 billion. Full-year EPS is estimated at $3.60 on revenues of $157.11 billion.

By segment, GM’s North American division posted lower quarterly earnings than a year ago, and the company’s European division posted a wider loss. The company’s international operations posted a gain, as did the South American division.

The company noted that it took a $5.2 billion noncash impairment charge on its long-lived assets in Europe, but that the charge “does not reflect any change to the company’s objective to break-even in its European operations by mid-decade.” GM did not indicate which decade it has in mind. For the full year, GM reported a net loss of $1.8 billion in Europe, more than double its 2011 full-year loss.

GM’s shares are trading down 0.6% in premarket activity this morning, at $28.50. The company’s shares closed at $28.67 last night, in a 52-week range of $18.72 to $30.68. The consensus target price for the shares was around $34.90 before today’s report.

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