General Motors Corp. made a profit of $4.7 billion during 2010, including $500 million in net income during the fourth quarter despite a 25% drop in earnings from its Asian operations and continuing losses in its struggling European automotive business.
GM also confirmed Thursday it will distribute a record profit sharing checks averaging $4,300 to 45,000 hourly workers in the United States. The payments, which will cost the GM about $189 million, are substantially larger any GM has distributed to workers since profit sharing was first included in its union contract in 1982.
“Last year was one of foundation building,” Dan Akerson, chairman and chief executive officer, said, adding that, “Particularly pleasing was that we demonstrated GM’s ability to achieve sustainable profitability near the bottom of the U.S. industry cycle, with four consecutive profitable quarters.
It was the first time GM was profitable during all four quarters of the calendar year since 2004. The maker subsequently ran up about $80 billion in losses before plunging into bankruptcy in May 2009. It emerged from Chapter 11 protection two months later, but only after receiving $49.5 billion in federal assistance.
“We know we still have a lot to do,” Akerson said Thursday during a conference call with analysts and reporters.