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Wednesday October 21st, 2020 12:13PM

Coronavirus-related plant closings send GM into 2Q net loss

By The Associated Press
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DETROIT (AP) — Even though General Motors was able to reopen its U.S. factories for the last half of the second quarter, the company still lost $806 million in the three months betweeen April and June.

The Detroit automaker had to close its plants from March 18 to May 18 due to the coronavirus, but production didn’t resume fast enough to stem the losses.

GM counts revenue when vehicles are shipped from its factories, so it had little money coming in for seven weeks in April and May.

The company reported a loss of 50 cents per share excluding one-time items. That was better than Wall Street expected, with analysts polled by FactSet predicting a $1.77 per-share loss.

Revenue was cut in half to $16.78 billion, and that also beat estimates.

The company burned through more than $9 billion during the quarter including spending on operations and capital.

Sales in the U.S., GM’s most lucrative market, fell 34% for the quarter, even though executives said there is pent-up demand for vehicles, especially pickup trucks. GM has put many of its truck plants on three shifts as it tries to make up for lost production.

Still, Chief Financial Officer Dhivya Suryadevara said the company nearly reached break-even earnings before taxes even in a challenging quarter.

“These results illustrate the resiliency and earnings power of the business as we make the critical investments necessary for our future,” Suryadevara said in a prepared statement.

Wall Street appeared to agree. GM's shares rose nearly 4% in trading before Wednesday's opening bell.

The whole auto industry was expected to struggle this quarter as the pandemic cut into sales. Electric vehicle company Tesla may wind up the lone exception because it managed to post a $104 million profit. But Japan’s struggling Nissan reported a $2.7 billion loss (285.6 billion yen) for the period.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Business, AP Business - Corporate News
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