DETROIT — General Motors' first-quarter net income doubled from a year earlier, though operating profit fell 11 per cent primarily due to downtime at the company's full-size SUV plant in Texas.
GM on Tuesday reported net income of $2.15 billion (all figures USD), up from $1.04 billion in the first quarter of 2018. Its adjusted earnings before interest and taxes dropped $300 million to $2.3 billion, as revenue declined 3.4 per cent to $34.9 billion. GM's adjusted earnings per share of $1.41, a key estimate for financial analysts, topped Wall Street estimates averaging $1.10. That includes a 31-cent revaluation from GM's stakes in Lyft Inc. and PSA Group.
The automaker's global deliveries in the first quarter slipped 10 per cent from a year ago to 1.9 million, including a 17 per cent decrease in China and seven per cent slide in the U.S.
GM CFO Dhivya Suryadevara previously alerted investors that the first quarter was expected to be the automaker's weakest of the year due to headwinds in China and a 25,000-unit loss in SUV production for retooling at its Arlington, Texas, assembly plant, the bulk of which was scheduled to occur in the first quarter.
GM said it still expects strong results for the year, including adjusted earnings of $6.50 to $7 a share and adjusted automotive free cash flow of $4.5 billion to $6 billion. Those forecasts are among the reasons why many analysts remain bullish on GM, compared with Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler.
Expected to offset headwinds this year are improvements in full-size pickup production, the launch of GM's redesigned heavy-duty pickups and an influx of new products toward the end of the year — particularly in China, where GM plans to introduce more than 20 new and updated models in 2019.
GM shares fell 1.9 per cent to $39.26 in premarket trading.