General Motors Corp. on Tuesday reported flat quarterly earnings after a one-time gain from the sale of its Hughes Electronics Corp. unit offset losses from restructuring charges and slower car sales.
GM, the world’s largest automaker, posted fourth-quarter net earnings of $1.01 billion, or $2.13 per share versus a profit of $1.02 billion, or $1.71 per share, in the previous fourth quarter.
Excluding the gain from Hughes and restructuring charges, GM earned $674 million, or $1.41 per share, down from $850 million, or $1.62 per share. That topped analysts’ expectations for a profit of $1.21 per share, according to Reuters Research, a unit of Reuters Plc.
The Detroit automaker recorded a gain of $1.2 billion for its sale of its stake in Hughes, which was completed in December and added some needed cash to its U.S. pension funds. GM also posted a one-time gain of $103 million for a adjustment to previous accruals for job cuts.
Partially offsetting those gains were charges of $725 million to cover costs and employee payments agreed to under its new contract with the the United Auto Workers union, as well as $218 million for restructuring costs at GM’s European operations.
Looking ahead, GM said it expects first-quarter earnings of $1.75 per share, excluding special items and at current dilution levels. That compares with analysts’ forecasts of $1.42 per share, according to a Reuters Research survey.
GM’s global automotive operations earned $396 million in the fourth quarter, down from $574 million in the prior-year quarter. Profits from GM’s core North American auto operations were hurt by a drop in new car production and higher costs for sales incentives.
Ford Motor Co. is scheduled to release its fourth-quarter earnings on Thursday.