General Motors Corp. today reported record worldwide dollar and vehicle sales, profits, employment and payroll for 1979.
The gaint automaker also named its first woman vice president, Dr. Betsy Ancker-Johnson, to head its environmental activities staff at the GM Technical Center in Warren, Mich.
[Meanwhile, Boeing Co. announced a 3-for-2 stock split, increased dividends and record sales.]
GM's sales were $63.2 billion and profits $3.5 billion ($12.24 a share) in 1978 compared with sales of $55 billion and $3.3 billion ($11.62) in profits in 1977, according to GM Chairman Thomas Murphy and President E.M. Estes.
The corporation declared its normal $1 dividend for the quarter and noted that both dividends and its profit as a percentage of sales were lower than in 1977. When GM trimmed its "extra" dividend distribution three months ago, the strong reaction from Wall Street caught GM executives by surprise, they have acknowledged since.
The GM officers made their traditional complaints about slipping profit margins when measured as a share of sales -- 5.5 percent in 1978 compared to 6.1 percent in 1977 and 10.3 percent in 1965.
Ancker-Johnson, 51, was awarded a Ph.D. in physics by West Germany's Tuebingen University in 1953 and has been an associate laboratory director for physical research at the Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago since May 1977.
She was born in St. Louis, and served as assistant secretary for science and technology in the Department of Commerce from April 1973 to May 1977.
Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Corp. are expected to report their sales and profits for 1978 within two weeks, with Ford profits even or down somewhat from a year ago and Chrysler continuing its recent trail of bright red ink.
News services also reported the following:
Boeing Co. Chairman T.A. Wilson released 1978 figures which showed a jump in total sales of nearly $1.5 billion over 1977 results.
The firm's board of directors announced an increase in the quarterly dividend from 30 to 37.5 cents a share. Boeing said the new rate would apply on shares prior to the 3-for-2 stock split, which would be equivalent to a dividend rate of 25 cents a share after the split.
The split will take the form of a stock dividend with one new share to be issued April 12 for every two held by stockholders of record March 12.
Last year's sales totaled $5.46 billion, and net income was $322.9 million ($7.57 a share). Comparable figures for 1977 were sales of $4.01 billion and net income of $180.3 million ($4.24).
Fourth-quarter profits were $107.6 million ($2.52) on sales of $1.62 billion compared with 1977 fourth-quarter profits of $55.8 million ($1.31) and sales of $1.13 billion.
Borden Inc., a food and chemical combine, earned $1.08 a share in the fourth quarter of 1978, up from 91 cents a share on 900,000 more shares a year earlier.
Sales rose to $999 million from $890 million.
For the year, Borden earned $135.8 million ($4.38 a share) on sales of $3.8 billion compared with $126.9 million ($4.07) in 1977 on sales of $3.48 billion.
Chairman Augustin Marusi said the bigger gains were in beverages, cheeses and confections. Dairy product sales were strong.
United Brands, an agribusiness combine, earned $700,000 (2 cents a share) in its second quarter ended Dec. 31 in contrast with a loss of $5.65 million a year earlier as sales rose to $831.4 million from $614.54 million.
Profit for the half were $2 million (8 cents) on sales of $1.622 billion in contrast with a loss of $7.05 million a year earlier on sales of $1.195 bilion.
Chairman Seymour Milstein said a turnaround by the John Morell Meat Packing Division caused the improvement. The company's basic banana business had a loss, caused mainly by low prices. Other food and non-food lines were profitable.