The business world has always confounded us for being a place where one can celebrate with champagne after not posting a profit for three months, if only for the fact that you didn't lose as much money as people thought you would. Such is the case with General Motors, which today announced that it had lost "only" $115 million this quarter. Those pesky "special items" in the ledger amount to $644 million for GM and include money that's been spent to aid the reorganization of Delphi and "goodwill impairment" on GMAC (from what we gather, it's a reevaluation of the finance company's worth). Excluduing special items, GM actually posted a net income of $529 million on revenue of $48.8 billion, which is a marked improvement over last year's adjusted loss of $1.1 billion and comes mainly from the good old fashioned practice of selling cars and trucks. General Motors also was able to fine tune the amount of money it expects to spend on Delphi, which previously was thought to be between $5.5 and $12 billion, but now looks to be between $6.0 and $7.5 billion.

On the auto side of things, GM's global market share was 13.9% percent in Q3, up slightly from the second quarter but below the 14.4% it recorded in Q3 2005. In the all important North American market, however, GM captured 25.1% of consumers' hearts and wallets, the best quarter it's had this year. GM North America still reported a loss of $367 million in Q3, but again, it's an improvement of $1.3 billion over last year this time and was acheived despite producing 96,000 fewer vehicles (likely the result of lower rental and fleet sales).

You can check out GM's full press release for more details after the jump.

[Source: GM]


PRESS RELEASE:

Gm Reports Preliminary Third-Quarter Financial Results

• Reported net loss of $115 million, or $0.20 per share
• Adjusted net income of $529 million, or $0.93 per share diluted
• Record third-quarter revenue of $48.8 billion
• Upper end of estimated Delphi exposure reduced by $4.5 billion

DETROIT – General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM) today reported significantly improved preliminary financial results for the third quarter of 2006. The company posted a profit on an adjusted basis, excluding special items, and generated its third consecutive quarter of record revenue.

GM reported a net loss of $115 million, or $0.20 per share, for the third quarter of 2006, compared with a loss of $1.7 billion, or $2.94 per share, for the year-ago quarter. The net loss for this year's third quarter included $644 million, or $1.13 per share, in charges for special items, including goodwill impairment at GMAC and an increase to the charge associated with Delphi's reorganization.

GM reported 2006 third-quarter adjusted net income, excluding special items, of $529 million, or $0.93 per share diluted, on revenue of $48.8 billion. These results represent a $1.6 billion improvement from the year-ago loss of $1.1 billion. GM's global automotive operations almost fully accounted for the improvement, while lower GMAC results were more than offset by benefits associated with certain tax matters.

As a result of progress in ongoing discussions regarding the bankruptcy filing by Delphi Corp. and updated estimates related to certain benefit guarantees, GM has significantly narrowed the range of its estimated potential exposure related to this filing. The new range is between $6.0 and $7.5 billion pre-tax, as compared to a previously disclosed range of $5.5 to $12 billion. GM believes the more likely amount of the liability is at the lower end of this new range. Reflecting these updated estimates, GM has also increased the reserve for its contingent liability for Delphi by $500 million in the third quarter, bringing the total charges taken to date to $6 billion pre-tax. In addition to these charges, the final agreement with Delphi may result in GM agreeing to reimburse Delphi for certain labor expenses to be incurred upon and after Delphi 's emergence from bankruptcy. The initial payment in 2007 is not expected to exceed approximately $400 million pre-tax, and the ongoing expenses would be of limited duration and estimated to average less than $100 million pre-tax annually. GM expects these payments to be far exceeded by anticipated reductions in Delphi material cost premiums.

"Our third quarter results again reflect significant progress in our fast-paced initiatives to turn around our business and create a company that is leaner, faster and positioned for long-term sustainable growth," said Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Rick Wagoner. "Our turnaround efforts in North America and Europe are well underway, and having a large impact on the bottom line, as evidenced by the $1.6 billion improvement for the quarter. This improvement in North America and Europe, combined with the strong sales growth and earnings performance we see in Asia and Latin America, confirm that our plan is on track. We have more work to do, and we remain focused on continuing progress in the quarters to come.

"In addition to the automotive turnaround, our near-term priorities include the successful resolution of the Delphi negotiations and closing the GMAC transaction," said Wagoner. "While a number of important issues still remain to be resolved, we are encouraged by the progress we have made on Delphi, and remain optimistic that we can achieve a consensual agreement. Regarding GMAC, we have completed several key milestones in the process and continue to work toward a fourth-quarter close."

GM Automotive Operations
Net income from global automotive operations improved by $1.5 billion year-over-year, posting a loss of $116 million on an adjusted basis, excluding special items (reported net loss of $62 million). This improvement is due primarily to significant improvement in North America, along with continued strong performance in other regions.

GM's global market share in the third quarter was 13.9 percent, up slightly from the second quarter market share of 13.7 percent, but down from 14.4 percent in the third quarter of 2005. The change in market share is largely attributable to the company's strategy of reducing sales of low-margin daily rental vehicles in North America and Europe. GM share in the U.S., however, set a stronger pace in the third quarter at 25.1 percent, its highest quarterly result in 2006.
GM North America posted an adjusted net loss of $367 million in the third quarter of 2006 (reported net loss of $374 million), a $1.3 billion improvement year-over-year, despite a decrease in production of 96,000 units. This significant progress largely reflects improvements in structural costs, as the company executes the pension, health care and manufacturing cost reduction initiatives related to its North American turnaround plan. The structural cost reductions, which are on track to total $6 billion in 2006, far offset the impact of the lower production for the quarter.

"There continues to be excellent progress in North America, with over $3.4 billion of net income improvement in the first nine months of the year. We are encouraged by the results, but we recognize that there is still more work to be done," Wagoner said. "We are on track to meet the structural cost reduction target of $9 billion on an average annual running rate basis by the end of 2006. Just as important, our aggressive new product launch program, a result of our increased capital spending, continues this fall with the introduction of our all-new Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups and the Saturn Outlook and GMC Acadia crossovers."

GM Europe posted an adjusted net loss for the quarter of $16 million (reported net loss of $103 million) reflecting an improvement of $105 million from the prior year's loss of $121 million. The results reflect continued execution of the GME restructuring plan, emphasizing both structural cost reductions and improved quality of sales.

"Our turnaround in Europe is in full gear. The region continues to make strides in cost reduction, augmented by pricing improvements arising from a focused sales and marketing strategy including lower rental fleet volume," Wagoner said. "We are seeing strong results from our Chevrolet brand, which posted record sales in Europe for the quarter. And, the newly launched Opel/Vauxhall Corsa is on track to exceed its 2006 objectives, with approximately 130,000 orders already placed in Europe."

GM Asia Pacific posted adjusted net earnings of $83 million for the third quarter (reported net earnings of $231 million), down from last year's earnings of $188 million. The difference primarily reflects the loss of income from Suzuki following the reduction in GM's equity interest in Suzuki and costs associated with launching the important all-new Holden Commodore and Statesman models in Australia. Strong sales performance in the region continued as market share increased to 6.2 percent from 5.9 percent, driven primarily by growth in Korea and China. GM products continue to gain strong acceptance in the fast-growing China market, with record third quarter sales of 192,000 units, up 17 percent over the same period last year. GM's global sales of GM Daewoo products exceeded 276,000 units in the third quarter, up 21 percent over third quarter 2005.

GM Latin America, Africa and Middle East posted strong adjusted and reported net earnings of $184 million for the third quarter, which reflects an improvement of $153 million from the year-ago period. The results primarily reflect an increase in volume generated by new product launches throughout the region. Market share in the region increased to 17.3 percent from 16.7 percent in the year-ago period as a result of strong sales in Brazil, South Africa, Colombia and the Middle East.

"Our Latin America, Africa and Middle East region posted their best quarterly financial results in nine years," said Wagoner. "We are seeing strong performance and growth in virtually every market in the region - - a great example of leveraging our global product portfolio in key growth markets."

GMAC
GMAC Financial Services earned adjusted net income of $346 million in the third quarter of 2006, as compared to record net income in the year-ago period of $654 million. GMAC's reported net loss for the quarter totaled $349 million, which included non-cash goodwill impairment charges of $695 million after-tax related to GMAC's Commercial Finance business.

GMAC's financing operations earned $136 million for the third quarter, as compared to $139 million earned in the year-ago period. These results include an expense of $135 million related to GMAC's successful third quarter offer to repurchase $1 billion worth of certain zero coupon bonds, which will result in improved earnings in future quarters. Auto Finance results otherwise benefited from an increase in net financing revenue as a result of strong retail financing penetration as well as lower provisions for credit losses.

ResCap's net income was $76 million in the third quarter of 2006, down from $282 million earned in the third quarter of 2005. The decrease in earnings was attributable to the challenging U.S. mortgage market which has negatively impacted margins and credit performance despite year-over-year increases in production. Mortgage originations totaled $51.5 billion for the quarter, representing a slight increase from $51.3 billion in the same period in the prior year.
GMAC's Insurance operations generated record quarterly net income of $191 million in the third quarter, up $102 million from earnings of $89 million in the year-ago period, primarily attributable to a combination of favorable loss performance and higher capital gains.

Excluding the goodwill impairment charge, GMAC's Other segment, which includes the Commercial Finance business unit and GMAC's equity investment of approximately 22 percent in Capmark Financial Group Inc. (Capmark), incurred an adjusted loss of $57 million (reported net loss of $752 million including the goodwill impairment charge), compared to $144 million earned in the same period last year. This decline results partially from GMAC's reduction in ownership interest of Capmark as a result of the first quarter sale. In addition, it includes the negative impact of higher credit provisions at Commercial Finance.
GMAC paid GM a $500 million dividend in the third quarter, resulting in 2006 year-to-date cash dividends of $1.9 billion.

GMAC continues to maintain adequate liquidity, while prudently reducing its excess levels of cash to more moderate levels with cash reserve balances at Sept. 30, 2006 of $14.1 billion, including $9.1 billion in cash and cash equivalents and $5.0 billion invested in marketable securities. This compares with cash balances of approximately $23 billion at June 30, 2006.

Cash and Liquidity
Cash, marketable securities, and readily-available assets of the Voluntary Employees' Beneficiary Association (VEBA) trust totaled $20.4 billion at Sept. 30, 2006, down from $22.9 billion on June 30, 2006, but up from $19.2 billion on Sept. 30, 2005. GM withdrew $2 billion from the VEBA trust in the third quarter to fund health care.