General Motors Corp. racked up record sales and profits in 1977 for the second straight year with net 1977 earnings of $3.3 billion on sales of $54.9 billion, the giant auto maker said yestersay.
GM, sold more cars and trucks last year than ever before, surpassed record year-ago sales by $7.7 billion, and exceeded its record 1975 earnings by some $400 million, the company said.
Earnings translated to $11.62 a share compared with $10.08 in 1976. Dividends paid on GM's common stock were a record $6.80 a share, up from the previous high of $5.55 paid in 1976.
GM's performance was within the range predicted by most Wall Street analysts.
GM also set records for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31 with net income of $936 million ($3.26 a share) on sales of $15.1 billion. Year-ago figures were $796.8 million ($2.77) on sales of $13.1 billion.
The preliminary yearend report was presented in New York to GM directors by Chairman Thomas Murphy and President Elliott Estes. The figures were released in Detroit.
The high profits allowed the nation's No. 1 auto maker to dish out $161 million in bonuses for its top executives, up from $139.7 million in 1976.
GM executives complained that inflation depressed the firm's profit margin to just 6.1 percent, down from 6.2 percent in 1976, 6.7 percent in 1973 and 10.3 percent in 1965.
"When our performance is measured in dollars of constant purchasing power, the erosion of GM's profitability by inflation is indicated in dramatic fashion," said Murphy and Estes.
"Specifically, GM's real net income in 1977 was only 2 percent more than in 1973 - even though 1977's real dollar sales were 13 percent higher," they said.
But Murphy and Estes said the company's record sales in the United States "reflected and reinforced the upward momentum of a national economy which grew throughout the year even though dogged by persistent uncertainties about the government's energy, environmental and economic policies."
Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Corp. have yet to announce their 1977 earnings.
Strong demand for jet transports helped Boeing Co. achieve 1977 profits and sales 7.5 percent higher than 1976 results, Boeing Chairman T.A. Wilson said yesterday.
Net earnings for the year were $180.3 million ($4.24 a share) on $4.019 billion in sales compared with earnings of $102.9 million ($2.42), adjusted for a 2-for-1 stock split during the 1977 third quarter, on sales of $3.918 billion.
In the latest quarter net earnings were $55.8 million ($1.31) compared with an adjusted $37.5 million (88 cents) in the 1976 fourth quarter. Sales fell from $1.212 billion to $1.127 billion.
Grumman Corp. said its fourth-quarter profits soared 320 percent to $7.9 million (97 cents a share, 85 cents diluted) from $1.9 million (24 cents). Sales were up 9.3 percent to $447.2 million from $408.9 million.
For the year, profits rose 37.5 percent to $32.4 million ($4.04, $3.53 diluted), from $23.6 million ($3.04 a share, $2.66 diluted). Sales rose 2.6 percent to $1.56 billion from $1.52 billion.
Grumman said its record year reflected improved efficiency on military programs that offset research and development costs on new commercial products.