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GM beats Wall Street’s third-quarter estimates, guides toward ‘high end’ of 2021 earnings forecast

The GM logo is seen on the facade of the General Motors headquarters in Detroit, Michigan, March 16, 2021.

Rebecca Cook | Reuters

DETROIT – General Motors on Wednesday topped Wall Street’s earnings and revenue estimates for the third quarter, while telling investors its full-year results would be at the “high end” of its previous guidance range.

Here are the numbers:

Adjusted earnings: $1.52 a share vs. 96 cents a share estimate, according to RefinitivRevenue: $26.78 billion vs. $26.51 billion estimate

The third-quarter was expected to be a rougher one than the first half of the year for GM. Analysts, however, said they expect relatively solid results, despite a global shortage of semiconductor chips that has depleted vehicle inventories and shuttered plants.

GM’s guidance for the year includes adjusted earnings of between $11.5 billion and $13.5 billion, or $5.70 to $6.70 a share and net income of between $8.1 billion and $9.6 billion.

“Our third-quarter 2021 results clearly illustrate the strength of the underlying business that is funding our future, especially when you put them in the context of the calendar year,” GM CEO and Chair Mary Barra said Wednesday in a letter to shareholders.

On an unadjusted basis, net income was $2.4 billion for the third quarter compared with $4 billion a year earlier, when dealerships and plants largely reopened after being shuttered during some of the second-quarter due to the coronavirus pandemic. The automaker reported pretax adjusted earnings of $2.9 billion for the third quarter, down from $5.3 billion a year earlier.

In the third-quarter, GM benefited from a deal with LG Electronics that would offset $1.9 billion of $2.0 billion in estimated costs of a recall of Chevrolet Bolt EVs due to fire risks. LG produced defective batteries for the vehicles at plants in South Korea and Michigan.

GM previously warned investors that its North American wholesale volumes would be down by about 200,000 units in the second half of 2021 compared with the first half, due to the parts problem.

In August, GM CFO Paul Jacobson said the automaker expected to take a hit of between $3.5 billion to $4.5 billion during the second half of the year, due to a $1.5 billion to $2 billion rise in commodity costs and lower earnings from its financial arm.

Shares of GM are up by 37.5% in 2021.

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