There’s a lot of analysis that needs doing re: GM’s first post-C11 financial statement. For now, let’s focus on the only important metric: cash burn. Never mind the headline—using taxpayer money to repay taxpayer money at a relatively paltry rate. How much cash does the nationalized automaker have, how much is it burning and when will it stop burning it? Taxpayer money given to GM (not including the Department of Energy’s $10 billion, 25-year, no-to-low interest “retooling’ loan): $52 billion. Current cash pile: $42.6 billion. Cash flow (according to Automotive News source): was $3 billion. And what of future cash flow? On this key issue—the only key issue—GM’s non-standard accounting of its accounts is, by no account, clear.
GM expects to have negative net cash flows in the fourth quarter of 2009 due to a number of factors including cash outflows relating to the Delphi settlement of $2.8 billion, the working capital impact of payment term adjustments of approximately $2 billion, payments for U.S., Canada, Ontario and Germany government loans of approximately $2.5 billion and continuing restructuring cash costs of approximately $1 billion. As a result, global cash balances at the end of 2009 are expected to be materially lower than third quarter levels of $42.6 billion.