Investor's Corner

GM reports strong Q1 Earnings, prepares to navigate semiconductor shortage


General Motors (NYSE: GM) reported its Q1 2021 Earnings on Wednesday morning, showing a well-performing financial spreadsheet that was supported by the automaker’s ability to beat Wall Street’s expectations. GM is working on expanding its fleet of all-electric vehicles and has several models planned for release in the coming years, but it will first have to prepare to navigate through a global semiconductor shortage that has caused delays and closures across the automotive industry.

GM reported an adjusted Earnings per Share of $2.25, handily beating the $1.04 that Wall Street analysts estimated according to Refinitiv. Additionally, its Revenue figures fell just short of the analyst expectations. GM reported $32.47 billion, while Wall Street expected $32.67 billion. The company solidified its expectations for the rest of 2021, forecasting $10 billion to $11 billion, or $4.50 to $5.25 per share in adjusted pretax profits. Additionally, the company expects the adjusted free cash flow to be between $1 billion and $2 billion for the year. These expectations and predictions already had the global semiconductor chip shortage factored in and included an expected decrease in earnings of between $1.5 billion and $2 billion. GM also anticipates a decrease of between $1.5 billion and $2.5 billion in free cash flow.

Shares of GM were up 3.3%, trading at $57.19 at 10:54 EST.

“The speed and agility of our team are front and center as we move from managing through a pandemic to managing the global semiconductor shortage,” GM CEO Mary Barra said in a letter to shareholders. “This remains a challenging period for the company as we emerge from 2020, but the team continues to demonstrate its ability to manage complex situations.”

Despite the factored decreases in some financial statistics, Barra still expects a strong first half of 2021. The company expects about $5.5 billion in pretax and adjusted earnings, according to the shareholder letter.

“These strong results demonstrate once again the underlying strength of our business, especially in North America and China, and at GM Financial. We continue to execute our strategy and make significant progress on our transition to an all-electric future with the growth opportunities it creates,” Barra added.

GM is beginning to transition its product line to more electric cars while beginning a slow phase-out of gas-powered vehicles. The company has already committed to an all-electric lineup and a stoppage of gas-powered engine production in 2035. Barra’s letter to shareholders outlined the company’s “significant strides” that include:

  • We are preparing to launch the redesigned Chevrolet Bolt EV and new Bolt EUV this summer, and we confirmed a high-volume battery-electric Silverado for both fleet and retail customers, with a GM-estimated 400 miles of range on a full charge for certain configurations.
  • We unveiled the stunning production version of the Cadillac LYRIQ nine months earlier than planned because of our virtual engineering and software expertise.
  • We unveiled a second GMC HUMMER EV model – the GMC HUMMER EV SUV – which will feature in-house developed, software-driven technologies, including CrabWalk, Extract Mode, and many more industry-leading features.
  • We continue to expand the availability and capabilities of Super Cruise, the industry’s first true hands-free driver-assistance system.
  • We introduced BrightDrop, a business created to help commercial delivery fleets maximize productivity, improve safety and reduce their carbon footprint. We are on track to begin delivering EV600 vans to our first customer, FedEx Express, later this year.
  • We announced that Ultium Cells LLC, our joint venture with LG Energy Solution, will begin construction of a new battery cell plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee. It will open in 2023, a year after our Lordstown, Ohio cell plant.
  • We signed a joint development agreement and increased our investment in SolidEnergy Systems, one of several companies we are working with to help commercialize lithium-metal batteries, which have incredible potential to deliver even better EV performance, more range, and lower costs for customers.
  • We joined new investors Microsoft and Walmart in a $2.75-billion fundraising round for Cruise,
    which also announced an agreement with Dubai to deploy up to 4,000 self-driving Cruise Origin
    taxis by 2030.
  • We will build two large EVs for Honda using our Ultium technology – one SUV for the Honda
    brand, and one for the Acura brand.
  • We revealed Ultium Charge 360, an innovative and holistic approach that integrates charging
    networks with our mobile apps and other products and services to simplify the charging experience for our EV customers.

GM’s net income was $3 billion in Q1, a huge increase compared to the same quarter in 2020, where the automaker only reported a $294 million income. The large increase in income can be attributed to GM’s strategy to control the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Q1 2020, where some of the company’s factories were shuttered, CNBC said.

GM reports strong Q1 Earnings, prepares to navigate semiconductor shortage
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