GM Posts 4Q Profit Of $950 Million

Turnaround attributed to cost custs and higher auto revenues, but company is still cautious about its finanacial future.

DETROIT (AP) – Motors Corp. reported a profit on Wednesday of $950 million for the fourth quarter of 2006, a big turnaround from a loss of $6.6 billion a year ago due in part to cost cuts and higher automotive revenues.

The world's biggest automaker, which is in the midst of a massive overhaul that includes shedding thousands of jobs and closing plants to become more competitive with Asian automakers like Toyota Motor Corp., wound up with a loss of $2 billion for all of 2006 compared with a restated loss of $10.4 billion in 2005.

Its profit without special items fell short of Wall Street expectations, however, and its shares slipped in morning trading.

Chief Financial Officer Fritz Henderson said despite the fourth-quarter profit, no one at GM is declaring victory over the company's financial woes.

He would say only that he expects GM's year-over-year performance to improve in 2007, and he would not predict whether the company would continue to be profitable through the year.

''The objective is to build a successful and profitable enterprise going forward,'' he told reporters Wednesday morning after the earnings report was released.

The fourth-quarter results included $770 million in net gains partly related to the sale of a 51 percent stake in GM's financial arm, General Motors Acceptance Corp. But the Detroit company said it would have made $180 million in the quarter without the items.

Henderson said GM's automotive operations performed better than expected for the quarter with increased revenue in North America due to higher transaction prices and higher sales volumes and revenues overseas.

The company also cut structural costs by $6.8 billion last year due mainly to buyouts and early retirement offers accepted by more than 34,000 hourly workers.

''We still expect to have negative cash flow in 2007,'' Henderson said.


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