General Motors’ Earnings Down 87%

General Motors Corp. CFO John Devine says the company is pleased it nearly doubled Wall Street’s forecasts but is not satisfied with the first-quarter results. The company reported first-quarter earnings yesterday that were nearly double what analysts expected, but they still came in well below the year-earlier period. Although it earned $225 million, excluding special items, GM’s earnings fell 87%

General Motors Corp. CFO John Devine says the company is pleased it nearly doubled Wall Street’s forecasts but is not satisfied with the first-quarter results. The company reported first-quarter earnings yesterday that were nearly double what analysts expected, but they still came in well below the year-earlier period.

Although it earned $225 million, excluding special items, GM’s earnings fell 87% in the first quarter compared to the $1.8 billion it earned over the same time last year. The company said it is restoring production of 30,000 vehicles, forecast a recovery for the economy in the second half of 2001 and posted earnings-per-share nearly double expectations.

“It's nice to be above expectations, but we're certainly not pleased with the overall results,” Devine said. “They're not acceptable results in our view. We have a lot more to do.”

GM's revenues totaled $46.2 million, down from $46.9 billion in the same quarter last year, when U.S. sales were headed for a record. The company’s North American unit saw its earnings drop from $1.3 billion to $120 million.

"Our first-quarter performance was better than expected, considering significantly reduced production volumes in North America," GM chairman Jack Smith said. "While the economic and competitive environment is challenging, we remain focused on our key customer and business priorities."

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