General Motors ekes out profit as coronavirus slams business

The automaker plans to restart most production on May 18

General Motors eked out a profit during the first three months of the year despite the coronavirus slowing business to a standstill during the final weeks of the first quarter.

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The Detroit-based automaker earned $294 million, or 17 cents a share, as net revenue fell 6.2 percent from a year ago to $32.7 billion and pandemic costs reached $1.4 billion. Adjusted earnings of 62 cents a share topped the 30 cents that analysts surveyed by Refinitiv were expecting.

“We are focused on preserving liquidity and taking the right actions today to make the company stronger and more competitive in the long term as we navigate through these unprecedented times,” General Motors CFO Dhivya Suryadevara said in a statement.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
GMGENERAL MOTORS COMPANY35.60+2.25+6.75%

The automaker plans to restart the majority of its manufacturing on May 18 -- two months after announcing a temporary stoppage due to COVID-19.

U.S. sales felll 7 percent year-over-year, but demand for full-sized pickups remained strong, climbing 27 percent. Sales from GM's two joint ventures in China fell 43 percent amid a sharp drop in February before starting to pick back up in March.

GM ended the first quarter with $33.4 billion of automotive liquidity, including a drawdown of about $16 billion from its revolving credit facilities.

The automaker said it would wind down most operations in Australia and New Zealand and reached a deal to sell a plant in Thailand.

GM reiterated it remains "committed to an all-electric future."

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General Motors shares were down 42 percent this year through Wednesday, lagging the S&P 500's 11 percent drop.