The dramatic turnaround story of General Motors has etched another milestone with a successful stock market offering, reducing the government’s ownership share well below the crucial 50 percent mark.
GM’s improved prospects are welcome news for taxpayers, who backed a $50 billion bailout for the company, and a clear sign that the economic recovery remains on track. So far this year, the company has reported earnings of nearly $5 billion.
In 2009, when GM emerged from bankruptcy, its future was shaky. The economy was crawling out of recession, and the recovery has been glacial.
But the company has sliced its debt load, cut its executive payroll, gained a new labor contract, shuttered factories, pared its excessive portfolio of dealerships and eliminated some brand names, such as Pontiac. Remaining are solid performers like Buick, Cadillac and Chevrolet, including the popular Malibu made in the Kansas City area.
Despite GM’s successful return to public trading, the company still owes a hefty amount to taxpayers. Thursday’s public offering was expected to pare the Treasury’s ownership share to close to one-third from more than 60 percent, below the 50 percent required for control.
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