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Published: Wednesday, 10/16/2002

GM posts loss of $804 million for 3rd quarter


DETROIT - General Motors Corp. reported a loss yesterday of $804 million, or $1.42 a share, in the third quarter, due because of a $1.4 billion expense related to its investment in Fiat Auto Holdings plus other one-time charges.

In the year-ago quarter the world's largest automaker lost $368 million, or 41 cents a share.

Revenue in the third quarter rose to $43.6 billion from $42.5 billion a year ago. Income at GM North America increased more than 14 percent to $510 million.

GM said its global automotive operations earned $345 million in the third quarter, up 60 percent from the year-ago period.

The company said that before one-time charges it made $615 million, or $1.20 a share, exceeding Wall Street expectations of a profit ranging from 85 cents a share to $1.15 a share.

Part of the loss was from GM's Hughes Electronics satellite television business, whose proposed merger with EchoStar Communications Corp. was blocked last week by federal regulators. Hughes, which said Monday it would aggressively try to salvage the merger, lost $81 million in the third quarter.

“A steady stream of successful products and a rigorous cost focus continue to move us in the right direction,” GM president and chief executive Rick Wagoner said. “Our operations in North America are running very well, and we're striving for the same level of performance in other regions.”

GM owns 20 percent stake in Fiat, purchased two years ago. Its writedown for Fiat reflects the Italian automaker's crumbling amid slumping sales. Last week Fiat said it will eliminate 20 percent of its domestic work force over the next few months.

GM's year-to-date net income is $716 million, or $1.63 a share, compared with $346 million, or $1.16 a share, a year ago. Revenue rose 5 percent to $138.1 billion compared with $131.3 billion.

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