GM reports $3.9 billion loss for 2017

February 6, 2018

General Motors Co. reported Tuesday a loss of $3.9 billion in 2017, due largely to charges related to the new tax law and the Opel-Vauxhall sale.

But GM’s continuing operations made $300 million last year, still down 96 percent from 2016.

The Detroit automaker’s earnings-per-share reached $6.62. GM said last month it expected earnings-per-share of $6.50.

GM characterized 2017 as a year of transformation.

“The actions we took to further strengthen our core business and advance our vision for personal mobility made 2017 a transformative year,” CEO Mary Barra said in a statement. “We will continue executing our plan and reshaping our company to position for long-term success.”

The automaker’s continuing operations — that part of the company outside of its money-losing European Opel-Vauxhall business — made $300 million on $145.6 billion in revenue. In the fourth quarter, continuing operations lost $4.9 billion on $37.7 billion in revenue. That loss is related to a non-cash $7.3 billion write-down of its tax assets in the fourth quarter of 2017.

GM took a $6.2 billion hit on the year in its sale of Opel-Vauxhall to PSA Groupe SA, bringing down the year-end result. But the automaker in 2016 lost $257 million pre-tax in Europe, still an improvement from its $813 million pre-tax loss in the region in 2015. The automaker has said it is counting on strength in North America and China — and “improvement in South America” — to drive its performance in 2018.

GM’s adjusted earnings before interest and taxes in North America totaled $11.9 billion, down from $12.4 in 2016. China joint ventures and other international operations made $1.3 billion in 2017.

The automaker also announced profit sharing of up to $11,750 for its roughly 50,000 United Auto Worker hourly employees, compared to the $12,000 checks distributed last year.

In 2016, GM made $9.43 billion in net income, record earnings-per-share of $6 and adjusted pre-tax earnings of $12 billion.

In the fourth quarter, GM reported a net loss of $5.1 billion. As GM prepares for a new corporate tax rate in the GOP tax bill, the company took a non-cash $7.3 billion write-down of its tax assets in the fourth quarter of 2017.

“With a fortress balance sheet, successful product pipeline and well-articulated strategic vision for the future of the automotive industry and mobility in general, investors can see real value in GM, beyond a nice dividend,” David Kudla, a financial analyst with Mainstay Capital Management, said in a statement.

Ford Motor Co. reported a 65 percent increase in annual profit last year, but the automaker’s pre-tax profit dropped $1.9 billion from a year ago to $8.4 billion. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV’s net profit nearly doubled in 2017 to $4.35 billion (3.5 billion euros).

Detroit News auto reporter Ian Thibodeau contributed