Akerson buys about $500,000 of GM stock
Akerson: Putting his money where his mouth is.
DETROIT -- Days after vowing to be "relentless" in getting General Motors Co. back on track, CEO Dan Akerson is putting his money where his mouth is.
On Wednesday, Akerson bought 25,000 GM shares at a price of $20.35 a share, or about $500,000 worth, according to a regulatory filing posted today. That brings his GM holdings up to 272,828 shares, or about $5.6 million worth.
The move could be seen as a vote of confidence by the CEO in GM shares, which has been languishing around $20 for most of the last two months. The stock remains about 40 percent below its November 2010 IPO price.
A GM spokesman declined to comment on Akerson's stock purchase.
While discussing GM's second quarter results with analysts last week, Akerson expressed frustration in GM's performance and vowed that the company would be "relentless in attacking the issues that hold us back."
'Not acceptable' performance
He acknowledged that GM is worse off than it was a year ago on many key metrics.
"That's not acceptable with this leadership team, and we're going to underscore that fact with our teams to keep everyone on point," Akerson said.
GM posted a $1.49 billion net profit for the second quarter, which was 41 percent below the year-earlier period. The company remains beset by continued losses in Europe, while its U.S. market share has slipped.
In a research note last week, Barclays Capital analyst Brian Johnson said European losses likely will continue to weigh on GM's shares. He also noted that profitability in North America will be squeezed during the third quarter because of lower truck production, as GM retools some plants to prepare for its next generation of pickups and SUVs.
Shares are 'cheap'
But, Johnson said, an influx of new and redesigned vehicles over the next 18 months should give GM a lift. And any news of a restructuring in Europe could also give investors confidence.
Still, Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas says investors might hesitate to follow Akerson's lead, even though shares remain "cheap."
The case for buying GM stock "requires a degree of market confidence the economy is not providing, and a degree of visibility that management is also simply not providing," Jonas said in a research note Tuesday. That leaves investors "wondering if it's too early to buy the stock."
You can reach Mike Colias at firstname.lastname@example.org.