GM revs up for flotation after $1.3bn profit

General Motors yesterday reported a second consecutive quarter of profits following massive losses last year as the US carmaker prepares to sell shares to the public.

The group, which only emerged from bankruptcy protection last year. reported second-quarter net earnings of $1.3 billion (834 million), compared with $865m in the first three months of the year. The Q2 profit was the largest since 2004.

GM's strong results reflected a 47 per cent surge in global production from the depressed levels of a year earlier when the business underwent a sweeping restructuring involving the loss of tens of thousands of jobs and $50bn in US government funding.

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As well as closing plants in the US to cut costs, the group has sold a number of marques, including Saab and Hummer, although it has retained its European brands, Opel and Vauxhall.

Revenue rose to $33.2bn from $31.5bn in the first quarter, boosted by stronger results in North America.

Chris Liddell, GM's vice chairman and chief financial officer, said: "I am pleased with our progress. We have delivered strong product, maintained cost discipline … and delivered two consecutive quarters of profitability and positive cash flow."

GM chief executive Ed Whitacre had said last week that the quarterly results would be "impressive," and analysts expect the company to cite its two quarters of consecutive profits to build the case for a stock offering that will be the largest ever for the US market. The filing for GM's initial public offering was expected today.

The group's results show it is trailing its smaller rival Ford, which posted a second-quarter profit of $2.6bn, but ahead of Chrysler, which lost $172m.

GM's second-quarter figures were not directly comparable to the year-earlier period because the firm was operating under Chapter 11 protection for part of the second quarter in 2009.

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