Salem Radio Network News Sunday, October 24, 2021

Business

GM keeps on trucking despite Covid, semiconductor concerns

By Ben Klayman and Paul Lienert

DETROIT (Reuters) -General Motors Co on Wednesday swung to a second-quarter profit from a loss last year when the COVID-19 pandemic shut operations, and raised its full-year forecast despite an $800 million recall bill and uncertainty over Covid and a global semiconductor shortage.

Net income was $2.8 billion, or $1.90 a share, compared with a loss in the year-earlier quarter of $806 million, or 56 cents a share. Analysts were expecting $2.23 a share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

GM said adjusted earnings before interest and taxes were a record $4.1 billion, and $8.5 billion in the first half. It boosted full-year EBIT-adjusted guidance to $11.5 billion-$13.5 billion, from the previous $10 billion-$11 billion.

The company expects to lose production of about 100,000 vehicles in North America in the second half, and anticipates commodity costs rising by $1.5 billion-$2.0 billion.

Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra, in an earnings call on Wednesday, said GM will “continue to see the impact this year” of the chip shortage, and expects it will continue into the new year.

The largest of the Detroit automakers benefited from strong demand and the high prices it was able to charge for its popular trucks and sport utilities, which offset costs related to the Bolt recalls and production disruptions caused by shortages of semiconductors.

Barra said GM’s U.S. inventories are “pretty lean,” at 25 days’ supply. “I anticipate it will be pretty tight for the rest of the year and continuing into next.”

GM shares were down 3.6% to $55.80 in premarket trade.

Like its rivals, GM faces uncertainty because of the rapid spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus. GM, Ford Motor Co and Stellantis NV, along with the United Auto Workers, on Tuesday reinstated mandatory mask wearing in their U.S. factories, and called on workers to get vaccinated.

GM has not followed other large U.S. employers in mandating workers get COVID vaccinations. But Barra did not rule out further steps to combat the Delta variant. “We are evaluating what is appropriate and talking to different stakeholders,” Barra said. “We are evaluating multiple choices we can make.”

GM’s inventories of unsold vehicles as of June 30 were half the year ago levels. It said it had $1.4 billion worth of vehicles in inventory that had been built without certain electronics modules because of the lack of semiconductors.

GM said its more bullish full-year outlook depended on having no vehicles stuck in inventory because of a lack of semiconductors.

The company reiterated its plan to introduce more than 30 electric vehicles by 2025, including two new EVs that will be aimed at commercial and small-business customers.

GM said its previously announced investment of $35 billion between 2020 and 2025 is primarily to increase manufacturing capacity for EVs and batteries. The company said it will add EV production capacity by converting existing combustion-engine vehicle assembly plants.

(Reporting by Paul Lienert and Ben Klayman in Detroit, Editing by Louise Heavens and Nick Zieminski)

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