General Motors Co. says it lost $4.3 billion in the last half of 2009 as it struggled to emerge from bankruptcy protection, repay government loans and cope with a severe downturn in U.S. sales.
However, the automaker says it still sees a chance of being profitable in 2010.
GM's results aren't comparable to prior years. They only measure the period from July 10, when GM emerged from bankruptcy protection after shedding billions in debt, through Dec. 31. GM said it earned $109 million in the period from Jan. 1 to July 9, under old accounting.
The Detroit company reported revenue of $57.5 billion for the period. That compares to $47.1 billion in revenues in the period from Jan. 1-July 9.
GM arrived at the totals using fresh-start accounting, which allows companies to completely revalue their assets after bankruptcy protection. GM says it's the largest company ever to go through the fresh-start process.
The federal government has given GM $52 billion in aid and has owned 61 percent of GM since its emergence from bankruptcy. Most of that will be repaid when GM makes a public stock offering, but the company has pledged to repay $6.7 billion in cash.
GM made a $1 billion payment to the U.S. government in December and another $1 billion payment in March. GM's new Chief Financial Officer Chris Lidell said last month that the company still hopes to repay the entire $6.7 billion before June.
Under new CEO Ed Whitacre, since July the automaker has shed four brands — Pontiac, Saturn, Saab and Hummer — and made a series of management changes and cut thousands of salaried employees.
GM, which remains the largest car company by sales in the U.S., saw a slight gain in U.S. market share in the first three months of this year compared to a year ago. Sales of some of its new crossovers, including the Chevrolet Traverse and Equinox and GMC Acadia and Terrain, have been particularly strong.
GM last reported earnings in November, when it said it lost $1.2 billion in the third quarter. That was before the company completed the fresh-start process. It lost $6 billion in the first three months of 2009 before its stay in Chapter 11. It lost $31 billion in 2008.
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