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GM Shareholders Ask, Where Are the Profits?

Dan Akerson, chief executive officer of General Motors Co.
Victor J. Blue | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Dan Akerson, chief executive officer of General Motors Co.

One comment from one frustrated and disappointed General Motors shareholder at the company's annual meetingsums up how many GM investors feel.

"I received common shares paying absolutely no dividends at $32/share, and they have since deteriorated.” said Richard Wills. "Now you have made billions of dollars. We are putting money into plants; we are funding the pension fund, this is all very good but I frankly doubt that I will ever buy another GM product."

You can't blame Wills or other GM shareholders for being upset. Many bought the stock at or close to the $33 IPO price in 2010. Since then the stock has lost more than a third of its value.

The last year hasn't offered much relief. GM shares are down 24 percent.

CEO Dan Akerson was blunt in assessing the automaker's performance. "(The year) 2011 was a good year, but not a great year," said Akerson. "Just look at the latest ranking of Fortune 500 companies. GM is number 5 in revenue, but number 20 in profitability."

It may seem strange saying a company that made $7.6 Billion in 2011 is not delivering for shareholders. After all, Akerson and the new leadership team at GM have made huge strides growing the bottom line.

Still, this is a company with sizeable problems, most notably a European division that has lost money for 12 straight years and will take time to turnaround.In an exclusive interview on "Squawk Box" Akerson said the company is making progress fixing Europe, but can't say when the losses will end.

So as Akerson and the GM board hold the company's annual meeting, investors are wondering when GM's strong profits will eventually translate into a stronger stock price.


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