The fiscal changes in the United States and the sale of Opel to the French group PSA affected the financial results of General Motors (GM) in 2017, year in which it registered a net loss of 3.864 million dollars despite almost achieving a record of profits before taxes and interest.
But GM executives said today, during a conference call with analysts and the media, that earnings before interest and adjusted taxes were $ 12,844 million, practically equal to the record figure of 2016.
“2017 was a transformative year for GM,” said the president and CEO of the company, Mary Barra, who added that “the company is stronger and resilient for the decisions taken.”
Barra insisted that “the actions we took to further strengthen our core business and advance our vision of personal mobility, made 2017 a transformative year, and we will continue executing our plan and shaping the company for long-term success.”
For his part, Chuck Stevens, executive vice president and chief financial officer of GM, said that “improvements in all operating segments and an intense focus on reducing costs generated a record fourth quarter and another record year.”
“The important thing is to see the operating results, we could not be more satisfied with our results,” he explained.
With profits before interest and taxes adjusted to record levels, the negative figures of GM in 2017 are justified by the special expenses of 13,500 million dollars: 7,300 million dollars due to the tax reform in the United States, and 6,200 million dollars from the sale of Opel.
While, in the last quarter of the year, GM, one of the three largest automobile manufacturers in the country, had a net loss of 5,151 million dollars, compared to 1,835 million dollars of net profits for the same period of 2016.
The company also had special charges of 460 million dollars for the restructuring of GM International, 80 million dollars for the situation in Venezuela and 114 million dollars for the call to review the defect in the ignition system of millions of vehicles.
In the whole of 2017, the company had an income of 145,588 million dollars, 2.4% less than in 2016.
By region, GM in North America had profits of US $ 11,889 million in 2017, 3.6% less than in 2016; while GM International, which includes the rest of the world, earned 1.3 billion dollars, 69.4% more than in 2016.
For its part, GM Financial, the financial arm of the manufacturer, won in 2017 1,196 million dollars, a 56.7% increase.
In 2017, GM also increased by 0.8 the number of vehicles sold worldwide, which reached the figure of 8.9 million, including 3 million delivered in the United States and 4 million in China, the highest figure in the history of the company.
Both Barra and Stevens highlighted that in the last quarter of 2017, GM’s operations in South America were profitable, the second consecutive quarter of black numbers, in part thanks to the sales of the Chevrolet brand in South America increased by 13.8% in 2017
Another record of the year were deliveries of electric vehicles that reached the figure of 69,500, of which 26,000 were Chevrolet Bolt EV and another 11,500 Baojun E100, the latter in the Chinese market.
With regard to this year and 2019, Barra and Stevens were optimistic.
Barra said that GM will “follow the momentum in 2018 and accelerate it in 2019”, largely thanks to the fact that conditions in North America are still favorable for maintaining the high rate of sales in the market.
In this sense, Stevens explained that GM’s expectations for the US in 2018 are based on “moderate increases in interest rates, of 75 basis points, moderate inflation and moderate wage increases.”