General Motors Reports Record Profit for 2011

Dinged by losses overseas, though, GM's fourth-quarter results fell just short of analysts' expectations.

Two and a half years after emerging from bankruptcy reorganization, General Motors on Thursday reported the biggest full-year profit in its history.

GM said its net income attributable to common stockholders hit $7.6 billion in 2011 -- up from $4.7 billion the previous year -- on the heels of its initial public offering in November 2010.

GM's earnings per fully diluted share reached $4.58, up from $2.89 in 2010.

"In our first full year as a public company, we grew the top and bottom lines, advanced our global market share and made strategic investments in our brands around the world," GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson said.

GM reported an 11% jump in full-year revenue, from $135.6 billion in 2010 to $150.3 billion in 2011.

Full-year earnings before interest and tax adjusted was $8.3 billion, compared with $7 billion in 2010, according to the automaker.

"We will build on these results as we bring more new cars, crossovers and trucks to market, and make GM a far more efficient global team," Akerson said. "This includes reducing our break-even level in Europe and South America and driving higher revenues around the world."

GM's fourth-quarter results fell just short of analysts' expectations.

The automaker reported a 3% year-over-year increase in fourth-quarter revenue ($38 billion), and fourth-quarter net income of $500 million, or 28 cents per fully diluted share -- compared with net income of $500 million, or 31 cents per fully diluted share, in fourth-quarter 2010.

GM's fourth-quarter results were driven by losses in Europe and South America, and in its GM International Operations business.

Still, the automaker forecast that it will grow its full-year top-line revenue "in an expanding global automotive industry."

"In addition, GM expects continued pricing improvement with cost inflation well-contained, while product mix and pension expense are expected to be unfavorable," GM said in a news release.

The automaker said it expects its capital spending to be in the neighborhood of $8 billion, "as the company continues to aggressively invest in new products and technologies."

"Behind the scenes, we are working hard to eliminate complexity and cost throughout the organization to increase margins in all of our regions, and return Europe and South America to profitability," said Dan Ammann, senior vice president and CFO.

"Overall, we have made good progress and we have more work to do."

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