GM Narrows Losses To $323 Million

General Motors limited some of its cash hemorrhage with its first-quarter earnings report April 20, reporting a narrower loss on a 14% jump in sales. GM's loss shrank to $323 million, or 57 cents per share, from $1.3 billion in the same period a year ago.

The latest loss included a charge of $681 million as well as a gain of $206 million on the sale of its stake in Suzuki.

Sales grew to $52.2 billion in the January-March period.

Strong sales in Asia and Latin America helped boost General Motors Corp.'s sales by 4.4% in the first quarter to more than 2.2 million vehicles, GM said on April 19.

GM's core North America automotive business, which has been reeling from heated competition and mounting fixed costs, reported an adjusted loss of $946 million, including $484 related to the retiree health-care settlement. This represented a narrowing from its adjusted loss of $1.5 billion a year ago.

"The first quarter represented an important milestone in GM and GM North America's turnaround," said GM chairman and chief executive Rick Wagoner. "We're pleased to see the significant progress in our first-quarter results and in the implementation of all four elements of our North American turnaround plan. And we remain focused on accelerating our return to profitability and cash generation," Wagoner said.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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