GM Tops Estimates on North America Gains but Asia Earnings Fall

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DETROIT (TheStreet) -- General Motors boosted its North America earnings, narrowed its losses in Europe and beat Wall Street estimates, but Asia earnings fell.

Excluding items, the automaker said it earned 96 cents a share in the third quarter. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had estimated 93 cents. Revenue rose 4% to $39 billion. Analysts had estimated $39.5 billion.

Including items, GM earned $698, or 45 cents a share. Improvement in operating performance was more than offset by a oss from special items of $900 million, or 51 cents a share, including $800 million related to the repurchase of 120 million shares of Preferred Series A stock. Also, GM had incremental tax expense equal to $500 million, or 29 cents a share. In the same quarter a year earlier, GM earned $1.5 billion, or 89 cents a share.

"We made gains in the third quarter as we improved our North American margins and increased our global share on the strength of our Chevrolet brand," said CEO Dan Akerson, in a prepared statement.

GM North American reported adjusted earnings before interest and taxes of $2.2 billion, compared with $1.7 in the same quarter a year earlier. GM Europe narrowed its EBIT adjusted loss to $200 million, down from $500 million. GM International, including Asia, reported EBIT adjusted of $300 million compared with $800 million a year earlier, reflecting recalls and tough competition from Toyota .

GM South America reported EBIT adjusted of $300 million compared with $200 million a year earlier. GM Financial EBIT was $200 million, flat with a year earlier.

During the quarter automotive cash flow from operating activities was $3.3 billion and adjusted automotive free cash flow was $1.3 billion. GM ended the quarter with total automotive liquidity of $37.3 billion. Automotive cash and marketable securities totaled $26.8 billion, up from $24.2 billion for the second quarter of 2013.

"During the quarter strong demand for new vehicles like the Cadillac ATS, Chevrolet Onix and the all-new Chevrolet Silverado helped boost our top-line," said Chief Financial Officer Dan Ammann. "We also further strengthened our fortress balance sheet and reduced our cost of capital through our $4.5 billion refinancing of high cost obligations. '

-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.

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