General Motors' CEO Discusses Q1 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

General Motors (GM)

Q1 2012 Earnings Call

May 03, 2012 10:00 am ET


Randy Arickx - Director of Investor Relations - General Motors

Daniel F. Akerson - Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Executive Committee

Daniel Ammann - Chief Financial Officer, Senior Vice President and Director of Opel

Chuck Stevens - Chief Financial Officer for North America


Brian Arthur Johnson - Barclays Capital, Research Division

H. Peter Nesvold - Jefferies & Company, Inc., Research Division

Adam Jonas - Morgan Stanley, Research Division

John Murphy - BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division

Rod Lache - Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division

Timothy J. Denoyer - Wolfe Trahan & Co.

Christopher J. Ceraso - Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division

Itay Michaeli - Citigroup Inc, Research Division



Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by, and welcome to the General Motors Company First Quarter 2012 Earnings Conference Call. [Operator Instructions] As a reminder, this conference is being recorded, Thursday, May 3, 2012.

I would now like to turn the conference over to Mr. Randy Arickx, Executive Director of Communications and Investor Relations. Please go ahead, sir.

Randy Arickx

Thanks, operator. Good morning, and thank you for joining us as we review our first quarter 2012 results. A press release was issued earlier this morning and the conference call materials are available on the Investor Relations website. We would also like to highlight that GM is broadcasting this call via the Internet.

Before we begin, I would like to direct your attention to the legend regarding forward-looking statements in the first page of the chart set. As always, the content of our call would be governed by this language.

This morning, Dan Akerson, General Motors' Chairman and CEO, will provide opening remarks, followed by a more detailed review by Dan Ammann, Senior Vice President and CFO. Dan Akerson will then conclude the remarks portion of our call with some closing remarks. After the presentation portion of the call, we will open the line for questions from security analysts.

Also, in the room today, we have Nick Cyprus, Vice President, Controller and Chief Accounting Officer; Jim Davlin, Vice President Finance and Treasurer; and Chuck Stevens, CFO North America and South America, to assist in answering your questions.

With that, I'd like to turn the call over to Dan Akerson.

Daniel F. Akerson

Thanks, Randy, and thank you to everyone on the call for joining us. General Motors had another solid quarter. Our EBIT adjusted results are strong. We had product success stories in every region of the world, especially with Chevrolet. Among the 20 largest automotive brands in the world, Chevrolet has been the fastest-growing for the last 2 calendar years.

Big marketplace wins like these are happening because we continue to advance the 4 strategies that are the foundation of how we run the business. Simply put, they are designed to build the world's best vehicles, strengthen our brands, grow profitably around the world and maintain our fortress balance sheet. We made good progress on this strategy last year, and we didn't let up in the first quarter of this year either.

I'll review each of the highlights through my remarks. But as you hear them, remember this. This management team is not getting ahead of ourselves. We are confident in our plan. We're pleased with the progress in most areas, and we have internal issues we're fixing. We're not immune to the industry issues like recession or overcapacity in Europe or competition that's intensifying everywhere we do business. Everyday, we keep our teams focused on these cold hard facts because it instills discipline, and discipline helps deliver better results.

It's certainly reflected in our top line growth, which you can see at the top of Slide #2. GM's first quarter global deliveries and net revenue both increased year-over-year, with North America and GMIO more than offsetting the declines in Europe and our flat results in South America. Globally, our deliveries were up 60,000 units, and our net revenue increased 4% to $37.8 billion.

Looking at the bottom line, our net income attributable to common shareholders was about $1 billion, which is down from the first quarter of 2011. As you know, we had a net $1.5 billion gain from special items a year ago. In this quarter, we had a special loss in special items of $600 million. Our automotive net cash from operating activities was a much improved $2.3 billion.

Looking at EBIT adjusted, we improved $200 million year-over-year to $2.2 billion. Our North American business has drove these results. Revenue in the region increased 9%, and EBIT adjusted increased $400 million to $1.7 billion.

This really speaks to our balanced portfolio of cars, trucks and crossovers and the ongoing success of vehicles, like the Chevy Cruze and the Cadillac SRX, and contributions from new vehicles like the Chevrolet Sonic and Buick Verano. All these vehicles have significantly better design, fuel economy, average transaction prices and resale value than the models they replaced.

Europe obviously remains a work in progress. Our EBIT adjusted loss was $256 million compared to a breakeven result last year -- year ago. Net revenue declined about 20%, which reflects our lower sales of vehicles and components, as well as the impact of a stronger dollar relative to the euro and the British pound. These results are disappointing but not unexpected, and we're working hard to identify new revenue and cost reduction opportunities to put the business on a path to sustainable profitability.

GMIO, like North America, remained a source of strength for the company. Our EBIT adjusted results of $500 million were down slightly compared with the year ago. Importantly, GM and our JV partners have continued to grow both sales and market share in China. They are first -- we had a record first quarter sales of 745,000 vehicles, thanks to the successful launch of Baojun, the ongoing success of Wuling and Buick and a solid start to the new Chevrolet Malibu.

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