GM's Facts and Fiction, or Vice Versa

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
gm s facts and fiction or vice versa

Frank’s preparing to tackle the new GM website, Meanwhile, I was amused to find a link in the right hand column sending me to an August 1 Wall Street Journal Marketwatch blog. Ostensibly, GM wanted me to read a remark by house spinmeister Tom Wilkinson’s defending The General’s honor. [Quoting yourself is like the joke about the falling American tourist trade in post-911 Paris: the waiters were reduced to insulting each other.] But I got caught up in the blog post itself, filled as it is with its own set of facts. Or perhaps we should call them inconvenient truths?

“Shares of General Motors are down 6.2% after the company reported a staggering $15 billion loss for the second quarter, as a result of declining sales, losses on leases, lots of debt, high energy prices, and just about anything else that could go wrong with a company.

Here’s a list of some numbers to put the earnings report in perspective:

  • $15.471 billion: GM’s loss for the entire quarter.
  • $11.68 billion: ExxonMobil’s profit for the quarter.
  • $6.267 billion: The market capitalization of General Motors as of this morning, according to
  • $7.512 billion: The market capitalization of Clorox, which reported net income of $158 million for its most recent quarter.
  • $3.6 billion. GM’s cash burn during the quarter, according to Citigroup, who said that “weak fundamentals, low visibility and inherently slow company turnarounds stress the importance of liquidity.”
  • $19.356 billion. GM’s cash on hand as of the end of the quarter.
  • $56.97 billion. The total stockholders’ deficit as of June 30. That’s up from $3.77 billion at the end of June 2007. And yet, people continue to try to rally the shares.
  • $4.55 million. The cost of insuring $10 million in GM bonds against default for five years (not including a $500,000 annual additional cost). That’s up from $4.2 million Thursday, according to Phoenix Partners Group.
  • $16.91. S&P 500 earnings per-share before including GM.
  • $15.29. S&P 500 earnings per-share for the second quarter, including GM’s GAAP results. GM’s earnings reduce S&P per-share earnings by 9.5%, according to Howard Silverblatt, equity index analyst at Standard & Poor’s.
  • 21.3%. GM’s U.S. auto sales market share, for the year-to-date.
  • 28.8%. GM’s U.S. auto sales market share, as of the end of 1999.”
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2 of 32 comments
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