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Holden posts $70m loss in Australia

image The company's senior leadership team was doing everything possible to get the company back into the black.

GM-Holden chairman and managing director, Mark Reuss, expects the carmaker to return a profit "as quickly as possible"...

...after posting a $70.2 million loss for 2008.

Faced with a parent in Chapter II bankruptcy in the United States and the collapse of new cars sales locally, Reuss, said the company's senior leadership team was doing everything possible to get the company back into the black.

"This includes attacking the revenue and cost sides of the business with equal enthusiasm," he said.

Reuss said GM-Holden had a small after-tax net profit of $6.6 million for the year ending December 31 before a series of special, on-off charges wiped this out.

The charges amounted to $76.8 million, which related mainly to the decommissioning of the Family II engine plant in Melbourne.

"In addition to this we made top-up contributions of $50.3 million to our Defined Benefits Scheme as the world financial markets began to deteriorate," Reuss said.

Softening Holden Commodore sales, as well as other Holden models, reduced revenues from $6.1 billion in 2007 to $5.8 billion last year.

"This result was disappointing because the organisation was well placed to make a healthy profit in Australia before world markets fell in the third quarter of 2008," Reuss said.

The company's total sales revenue was $5.4 billion compared to $5.7 billion in 2007.

Commodore and V6 engine exports held up well, helping lift revenue from $1.6 billion to $1.9 billion, reflecting a full year of Pontiac G8 sales in the United States.

Reuss said GM-Holden remained committed to research and development locally, spending $360 million.

He said the company was focused on its long-term future.

It intends rolling out more fuel efficient Commodores powered by LPG and E85 ethanol as well as introducing other fuel saving technologies and building the Cruze four-cylinder sedan from next year at its Adelaide plant.

After the collapse of its G8 exports to the US, it is also pursuing new export markets for its cars.


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