Strong EV demand helps General Motors top Q4 income estimates

January 31, 2023 7:30 AM EST
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(Updated - January 31, 2023 9:09 AM EST)

By Scott Kanowsky and Senad Karaahmetovic -- General Motors Company (NYSE: GM) reported fourth-quarter income that beat estimates and unveiled stronger-than-expected 2023 earnings projections, as the U.S. carmaker was boosted by electric car demand and easing supply chain constraints.

Adjusted earnings per share rose to $2.12 in the three-month period ended on December 31, up from $1.35 in the corresponding timeframe in 2021 and topping analysts' predictions of $1.68. Adjusted earnings before interest and taxes of $3.80 billion were also ahead of expectations for $3.46B.

Supporting this increase were record sales of GM's Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicle models. Following this performance, the company plans to raise global production of these cars to more than 70,000 this year.

The Detroit-based auto firm added that it expects its core automotive business will remain "robust" in 2023. It also sees output of both electric cars and battery cells to ramp up over the course of the calendar year, with these investments being funded in part by an anticipated automotive free cash flow generation of between $5.0B to $7.0B.

"We are gaining considerable market share in our fleet business, especially with commercial customers, and we believe our growing portfolio of EVs will enhance this strong performance," said Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra in a statement.

General Motors guided for annual net income of $8.7B to $10.1B and full-year adjusted EPS of $6.00 to $7.00, which were both higher than expected.

BofA analyst John Murphy said the strong Q4 results will allow the company to keep investing for the long-term.

"We estimate GM’s current liquidity levels are more than sufficient to weather the macro volatility, while also proactively investing for the future," the analyst said.

Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas praised GM for a "very strong guide" that "sets a high bar for the year.”

However, MS analysts “question whether the company will be able to self-fund such spending plans in a higher-rate, slower-growth environment.”

Shares in the company jumped 5.6% in U.S. pre-market trading on Tuesday.

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