US exits GM stake, taxpayers lose about $12.5 billion

The United States government sold its last shares of General Motors Co on Dec 9, 2013, leaving taxpayers saddled with a total shortfall of about US$10 billion (S$12.5 billion) on the automaker's 2009 bailout. -- FILE PHOTO: AP
The United States government sold its last shares of General Motors Co on Dec 9, 2013, leaving taxpayers saddled with a total shortfall of about US$10 billion (S$12.5 billion) on the automaker's 2009 bailout. -- FILE PHOTO: AP

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The United States (US) government sold its last shares of General Motors (GM) Co on Monday, leaving taxpayers saddled with a total shortfall of about US$10 billion (S$12.5 billion) on the automaker's 2009 bailout.

"With the final sale of GM stock, this important chapter in our nation's history is now closed," Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said.

Washington came to the rescue of the US auto industry during the darkest days of the country's 2007 to 2009 financial crisis.

The government's exit could benefit GM in several respects.

The company has carried a certain stigma since taking US$49.5 billion in government money four years ago.

"They can finally put 'Government Motors' in the rear view mirror, and that's an important step for consumers and for the company," said Mr Matthew Stover, an auto analyst at Guggenheim Securities.