U.S. Treasury raises $570.1 mln selling more GM stock

DETROIT Fri Oct 11, 2013 8:51am EDT

DETROIT Oct 11 (Reuters) - The U.S. Treasury said it sold another $570.1 million worth of General Motors Co common stock last month as it moved toward exiting its holdings in the automaker by the end of March 2014.

Treasury said in documents filed online on Thursday that as of the end of September it had recovered about $36 billion from its $49.5 billion bailout, which helped the No. 1 U.S. automaker get out of bankruptcy in 2009.

On Sept. 26, Treasury launched the third phase of a plan to sell its GM stake, which once stood at 60.8 percent. When it outlined its exit plan in December 2012, Treasury said it would sell all its GM shares in 12 to 15 months.

Treasury did not disclose how many shares it recently sold, but said its stake stood at about 7 percent. At the end of the second phase of trading, it owned 101.3 million shares, or 7.3 percent.

Treasury officials have said the government will lose $15 billion on the $85 billion auto industry bailout that included Chrysler, but said the intention was to save jobs, not make a profit.

The U.S. taxpayer bailout led some critics to dub the company "Government Motors," and executives said the stigma hurt sales some.

GM Chief Executive Dan Akerson has said the end of the Treasury stake would bring closure to the bailout and remove the perception of government ownership among customers.

Analysts have speculated that Treasury's exit could be earlier than expected and that once the entire stake is sold the automaker may consider reinstating a dividend on the common shares. A common stock dividend has not been paid since May 2008.

GM executives have said they will focus on reinvesting in company operations.