GM Expects Improvements to Earnings, Cash Flow

General Motors said it expects to "significantly improve" operating results, including earnings and cash flow, over the next two to three years.

GM Headquarters
GM Headquarters

Shares of GM rose as much as 3.8 percent Thursday before giving back most of those gains.

GM said it expects to increase revenue in all of its regions in 2008, particularly in emerging markets, and expects capital spending to be up slightly from 2007 levels to about $8 billion in 2008. The news was issued in a press release from a meeting GM executives had with financial analysts in Detroit.

Overall, the automaker forecast 2008 global industry volume of roughly 73 million units, up from about 71 million in 2007, with growth in Asia Pacific, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East and Europe.

GM expects U.S. industry sales to be in the low 16-million range, "reflecting continuing high fuel prices and sub-par consumer confidence."

The company said it plans to reduce annual U.S. labor costs by an additional estimated $5 billion by 2011, with a 'significant portion' of the reductions driven by the implementation of the 2007 GM-United Auto Workers contract.

The first phase of a voluntary special attrition program for hourly workers was launched in January 2008, GM said. Employees participating in this phase will begin to exit in March. Phase two of the program, which is sttll under discussion with the UAW, will be launched in February, with participating employees beginning to exit in April.

For both phases of the program, 46,000 existing employees are eligible for retirement.

In addition, GM said it will reduce the cost premiums it has historically paid to Delphi Corp. for systems, components and parts by roughly $1 billion by 2010. Those savings will be offset by various labor and transitional subsidies of $400 million to $500 million under Delphi's proposed reorganization, resulting in net savings to GM of roughly $500 million.

All told, the company expects structural costs as a percentage of revenue to be further reduced beyond 2010, with a target of 23% by 2012.

GM also said that GMAC's liquidity position is at relatively high historical levels and expects GMAC to be profitable in 2008.