General Motors Corp., which is planning big job cuts and plant closings as it fights to avoid bankruptcy, said Thursday it lost $4.8 billion in the fourth quarter and $8.6 billion in all of 2005, dragged down by losses in its North American division.
The loss amounts to $8.45 per share for the quarter and $15.13 per share for the year.
GM’s fourth-quarter loss compares to a loss of $99 million, or 18 cents per share, in the October-December period of 2004. It was the automaker’s fifth straight quarterly loss.
Revenue was $51.2 billion for the quarter, down slightly from $51.4 billion a year ago. Full-year revenue was $192.6 billion, down slightly from $193.5 billion in 2004.
Excluding special items, GM said it lost $1.2 billion, or $2.09 per share, in the latest quarter, compared to adjusted earnings of $726 million, or $1.28 per share, in the fourth quarter of 2004.
Special items included one-time restructuring costs of $1.3 billion in North America and a $2.3 billion charge associated with benefits at Delphi Corp., GM’s former parts division, which filed for bankruptcy last fall. GM said it expects to spend between $3.6 billion and $12 billion on benefits that were promised to Delphi workers.
Excluding items for the entire year, the company reported a loss of $3.4 billion, or $5.99 per share, compared with an adjusted 2004 profit of $3.6 billion, or $6.37 per share.
Wall Street analysts were expecting a loss of 16 cents per share on revenue of $41.7 billion in the fourth quarter, according to a survey by Thomson Financial. Analysts forecast a loss of $4.19 per share on revenues of $158 billion for the year.
GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner said 2005 “was one of the most difficult years in GM’s history.”
“It was a year in which two significant fundamental weaknesses in our North American operations were fully exposed — our huge legacy cost burden and our inability to adjust structural costs in line with falling revenue,” Wagoner said.
Wagoner said the company is moving forward with its turnaround plans, including a restructuring that will cut 30,000 jobs and shutter 12 facilities by 2008 and a plan to cut structural costs by $4 billion this year, largely through a health-care agreement with the United Auto Workers and manufacturing improvements.
GM sold 9.2 million vehicles worldwide in 2005, the second-largest volume in the company’s history. The automaker also set sales records in Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East, and sales also were up a modest 1.3 percent in Europe. But North American losses overwhelmed those gains, and GM’s worldwide market share was down slightly, to 14.2 percent from 14.4 percent in 2004.
GM got a boost Wednesday when billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian said in a federal filing that he reacquired 12 million shares of GM stock he sold in December. Kerkorian spent more than $250 million to boost his stake, which now stands at nearly 10 percent.
GM’s results come three days after Ford Motor Co. announced a profit of $2 billion for 2005. But Ford also struggled in its home market, losing $1.6 billion in North America for the year.