Treasury On Road to Lose $10B on Corporatist GM Endeavor

David Shepardson

(Detroit News) The U.S. Treasury and United Auto Workers union, capitalizing on the automaker’s rising stock price, will sell a combined 50 million shares of General Motors stock today.

The scheduled stock sale coincides with GM’s return to the S&P 500 index, and with today’s annual shareholders meeting at the Renaissance Center in Detroit.

Stock analysts say the return to the S&P will prompt significant demand for GM shares. The stock has recently traded near its highest level since February 2011. The Detroit-based automaker will replace H. J. Heinz Co. in the S&P 100 and 500 indices.

GM stock, set at $33 a share when the post-bankrupty company began public trading in 2010, lost 94 cents Wednesday in an overall down market, closing at $34.02. Shares are up about 19 percent since the beginning of the year.

The UAW’s Workers Retiree Medical Benefits Trust, which holds about 14 percent of GM, will sell 20 million shares, and the U.S. Treasury will sell 30 million of its 241.7 million shares.

The Treasury initially held 60.8 percent of GM as part of the U.S. $49.5 billion bailout.

The sale will bring the UAW’s remaining stake in GM to 9 percent of the company, and taxpayers’ share about 13 percent, compared with the 16.4 percent it owned as of April 30.

The move may mean the Treasury will sell off all its GM stock yet this year, rather than by the end of March 2014, which had been its earlier goal.

The Treasury sold nearly 20 percent of its remaining shares in General Motors Co. in the first three months of the year, the Detroit automaker disclosed Thursday, as well as 200 million shares sold to GM for $5.5 billion in December.

In total, Treasury has recouped $30.6 billion. At current trading prices, Treasury would lose around $10 billion on its GM bailout.

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