GM: 2003 Pension Costs Up $1B

October 15, 2002 ( - General Motors Corp topped third-quarter earnings expectations excluding special items, but the company warned that weakness in the stock market will cause its pension expense to increase next year.

During a Tuesday conference call, GM Chief Financial Officer John Devine said that poor equity market returns will increase 2003 pension expense by roughly $1 billion after tax, or $1.80 per share, Dow Jones reported.

GM said the return on pension assets fell 10% through September, Dow Jones reported.

Despite rising pension costs, Devine said the company hasn’t backed off its $10 a share earnings target by mid-decade

Already, GM has strengthened its balance sheet by $10 billion this year without a Hughes deal, Devine said.

GM attributed its strong performance in the third quarter to cost-cutting in North America and strong sales of several new products.