UPDATE 2-GM expects 2013 operating profit to rise modestly

Tue Jan 15, 2013 4:50pm EST

DETROIT Jan 15 (Reuters) - General Motors Co said on Tuesday that it expects its operating profit to rise "modestly" this year with improved results anticipated in each region because of new vehicles and greater demand in the United States and China.

"Our portfolio of new, world-class vehicles puts us on a strong footing to grow profitably," GM Chief Financial officer Dan Ammann said in a statement.

Analysts, on average, expect GM's 2013 profit to be $3.89 a share, up from an estimated $3.27 a share for 2012, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

GM reiterated that its U.S. product lineup would be 70 percent refreshed over 2012 and 2013.

In China in 2011, GM and its joint venture partners, including SAIC Motor, began rolling out more than 60 new or upgraded models that will be introduced to that market through 2015.

GM reaffirmed that it expects the European auto market to contract further this year. Chief Executive Dan Akerson said last week that GM expects Europe to weaken further in 2013 and Germany, maybe slipping into recession.

Ammann said GM's "fortress balance sheet" would allow the Detroit company to invest in vehicle development so it can sustain its profits.

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