GM is Back, and with Record Profits

General Motors (NYSE:GM) has risen from its own ashes to earn a $7.6 billion profit – its largest ever — in 2011. The 103-year-old automaker’s profits were up 62 percent year-over-year in 2011, just two years after the company suffered a financial brush with death. Full-year revenue was up 11 percent to $105 billion, the report said.

North American sales looked great GM raking in $7.2 billion in pre-tax profits, but Europe and South America cast doubts on future earnings with pre-tax losses of $700 million and $100 million, respectively.

GM announced on Thursday that $7,000 profit-sharing checks will be distributed to the company’s 47,500 U.S. blue-collar workers in March. The payout is based on North American performance and is a record for GM.

The company announced on Wednesday that it will try to keep expenses down by putting a hold on its pension plan for about 19,000 U.S. white-collar workers hired before 2001, and withholding pay raises from all salaried employees. Salaried employees will still receive annual bonuses, the report said. The changes are effective October 1. Workers will keep all accrued pension benefits, said officials.

Here’s how GM shares are reacting to earnings:

General Motors Corporation (NYSE:GM): GM shares recently traded at $26.49, up $1.56, or 6.26%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $19.05 to $36.76. Volume today was 15,845,015 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 11,007,000 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 5.78, while trailing earnings are $4.57 per share.

To contact the reporter on this story: Gina Smith at staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at editors@wallstcheatsheet.com