The automotive industry wrote another page in its recent turnaround story with the release of General Motors’ second-quarter operating performance. Not long separated from its well publicized bankruptcy and monumental government bailout, and now on the verge of an initial public offering of its new shares, the car maker reported results under the very watchful eyes of both taxpayers and investors.
And it did not disappoint, recording revenue of $33.2 billion and net income of $1.3 billion in the June interim. It is difficult to compare these totals to the year-earlier period (when sales came in $23 billion and the company suffered a $12.9 billion loss), as GM was progressing through its bankruptcy reorganization at the time.
However, it is likely hard for GM enthusiasts not to get excited, given that this represents it largest quarterly profit in over half a decade. On a sequential basis, the top line advanced 5%, while profitability was up over 50% from what was already a solid first quarter.
Not only did June-period results reflect an improved operating climate, it also showed a company that has taken numerous steps to revitalize its financial foundation, which just may well have expedited GM’s return to the investment community.
In the term, the company increased its cash and marketable securities, to $31.5 billion. In addition, it has since secured a $5 billion credit facility, with a number of banks, including Bank of America (BAC - Free Analyst Report), JPMorgan (JPM - Free Analyst Report) and Morgan Stanley (MS), supplying the financing. This, in turn, ought to provide GM some financial leeway should its recovery hit any speed bumps.
All these developments seem to indicate the auto maker is readying itself to go public. Recent signals suggest the company will follow up this positive earnings report filing registration papers for an IPO the next day.
Recent rumblings have priced the IPO of new and improved GM shares at a total value of $16 billion, which would make it the second-largest in U.S. history behind Visa’s (V) $19.7 billion.
Currently, the U.S. government still owns a stake of around 61% in GM, a claim of 304 million shares. Thus, the bulk of the new offering will likely come from the Treasury’s position, in an effort to reduce Washington’s stake to less than half. It remains to be seen whether GM’s remaining ownership, the UAW, former GM bondholders, or the Canadian government will contribute any of their shares to the IPO lot.
The re-launch of such a high-profile stock on the public market was already likely to garner significant buzz. Following its recent quarterly showing, however, it may be time for the company, as well as Washington, to strike while the iron is hot.
Many will likely have their doubts, as these shares once traded at $90 before leaving those investors who held on to the end with nothing but novelty stock certificates. At the same time, though, it is becoming more apparent with every day that GM shares will have plenty of investors ready to hop on board the new model.