February 5, 2020 / 1:00 PM / 20 days ago

GM forecasts flat 2020 profit after a rough 2019

DETROIT, Feb 5 (Reuters) - General Motors Co on Wednesday forecast flat profits for 2020 and reported a better than expected fourth quarter result as it kicked off a new effort to win over investors stampeding into shares of electric car rival Tesla Inc.

GM said it expects earnings per share for 2020 in a range from $5.75 to $6.25, excluding one time items, taxes and interest. Analysts are expecting GM to earn $6.23 this year on a comparable basis, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

GM's fourth quarter profits took a $3.6 billion hit from a 40-day United Auto Workers strike that shut down the automaker's profitable U.S. operations.

The company said pre-tax profits were 5 cents a share for the latest quarter excluding certain restructuring costs, down from $1.43 a year earlier. Analysts had forecast pre-tax income of a penny a share for the latest quarter.

Including restructuring costs, GM had a fourth quarter net loss of $194 million, or 16 cents a share.

Revenue in the quarter fell nearly 20% to $30.8 billion.

On Tuesday, rival Ford Motor Co delivered a weaker-than-expected 2020 forecast, warning of higher warranty costs, lower profits at its credit arm and continued investments in future technology such as self-driving cars, sending shares sliding. (Reporting by Ben Klayman and Joseph White Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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