For decades, big corporate profits were blasted as a sign of greed, especially by unions. GM changed all that. When a sheep dipped GM, free of legacy finance costs, and not paying taxes due to losses a normal company would not have been able to carry over after a bankruptcy, declared a record $7.6 billion profit in 2011, chests of GM boosters swelled with pride, as if the profits had been theirs. A year later, there is $2.7 billion less to be proud of. GM’s European millstone, Opel, continues to drag the company down. Opel’s operative losses more than doubled to $1.8 billion for all of 2012.
GM reported as $4.9 billion profit for 2012, and “a weaker-than-expected fourth-quarter profit on Thursday, citing wider losses in Europe and lower vehicle prices in its core North American market,” says Reuters. Analysts had hoped GM would do better.
The situation in Europe is expected to be getting worse. CFO Dan Ammann told Reuters that “GM still sees industry sales in Europe declining in 2013 and is “not betting on” a pickup later in the year.”
GM wrote down $5.2 billion worth of assets in Europe. GM’s $423 million investment for a 7 percent stake in Peugeot, is now carried at half price on GM’s books. Ammann said that GM has “no intention of putting more cash into Peugeot.”