GM gets new credit lines totaling $11BThe Associated Press | November 06,2012AP PHOTO
People shop on Wednesday in Philadelphia. Americans’ confidence in the economy surged in October to the highest level in nearly five years, as many were encouraged by an improving job market.DETROIT — General Motors says it has received $11 billion in credit lines from 35 financial institutions in 14 countries, boosting its available cash and credit to more than $42 billion.
The company wouldn’t say specifically what it plans to do with the money, only that it’s a source of “backup liquidity” that may be used for “strategic initiatives.”
But analysts said it could be hoarding the cash to buy back stock, specifically from the U.S. government. The U.S. Treasury Department owns 26.5 percent of the company, which it got in exchange for a $49.5 billion bailout about four years ago. They also say the cash could be used to help pay for restructuring GM’s troubled European operations, buying an auto finance arm in Europe from Ally Financial, or to further fund its pension plans.
GM says the new lines have more favorable terms than the old one, and will allow the company to borrow in different currencies.
Two of the three New York debt-rating agencies, Moody Investors Service and Standard & Poor’s, quickly gave the GM credit lines an investment-grade rating on Monday.
But that doesn’t mean GM’s overall corporate credit rating changed from junk status. S&P’s corporate rating on GM remains at “BB+,” the highest junk rating. Moody’s kept the corporate rating at “Ba1,” also one notch below investment grade. Moody’s has given GM a positive outlook and said it remains on track to return to investment grade within the next year.
GM’s new lines of credit include a three-year $5.5 billion facility and a five-year $5.5 billion line. They replace GM’s existing $5 billion credit line, which was to expire in 2015. GM also has $31.6 billion in cash and securities.
Chief Financial Officer Dan Ammann said the lines are a vote of confidence in the company’s financial strength.
The automaker, known derisively as “Government Motors” for taking bailout money to avoid going under in 2008 and 2009, has long wanted the government to sell its stake and exit the business. But the government, which still owns 500 million GM shares, is waiting for the stock price to rise before making a move. The government is $27 billion in the hole on its investment, and to break even, GM shares would have to sell for $53.
At this point, they’re not even close. Shares fell 31 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $25.48 in Monday afternoon trading.
It would cost GM about $12.7 billion to buy back all of the government’s shares at the current price.
Last week, GM announced a $1.48 billion third-quarter profit on strong North American earnings, big improvements in South America and strong earnings in international areas outside of China. But there are signs of weakness. Profit in North America, GM’s most lucrative market, fell 17 percent from July through September. The company’s U.S. market share dropped more than two percentage points to 17.6 percent, and its U.S. sales increase of 3.4 percent for the year lags overall market growth of 14.5 percent. In Europe, where GM hasn’t made money in a dozen years, it lost $478 million before taxes.MORE IN National / World BusinessWASHINGTON — How did trade schools go from being mom-and-pop shops that trained mechanics and... Full StoryWASHINGTON — U.S. manufacturing growth improved in June, helped by a jump in employment. Full StoryNEW YORK — Sysco is scrapping its proposed $3. Full Story
- Most Popular
- Most Emailed
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day 1739, 'Richard Palmer' identified in prison at York Castle as the notorious outlaw DICK TURPIN; IN 1836, Battle of the Alamo begins near San Antonio de Bexar, Texas; 1896, the Tootsie Roll invented by LEO HIRSCHFELD.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1472, Orkney, Shetland islands put up as collateral by Norway to Scotland in lieu of dowry for MARGARET OF DENMARK on her marriage with JAMES III, king of Scotland; 1962, JOHN GLENN first American to orbit Earth.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: City mayoral candidates debate campaign issues; Hartford, Conn., woman still missing; Neal Goswami reports attempts to legislate suicide; local woman loses 100 pounds through TOPS program.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1878, JOHN TUNSTALL murdered near Lincoln, New Mexico, by the outlaw JESSE EVANS; in 1930, ELM FARM OLLIE first cow to fly in aircraft, first to be milked airborne; 1955, nuke test WASP; '79, snow in Sahara.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Rutland Herald News Editor Alan J. Keays and staff writer Gordon Dritschilo discuss stories planned for the February 18, 2015, edition of the newspaper: Winter budgets maxed, legal marijuana, Springfield bank job, USPS slowdown
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1249 AD, ANDRE of LONGJUMEAU is dispatched by LOUIS IX of France to meet the KHAGAN, ruler of the Mongol Empire; in 1804, during 1st Barbary War, STEPHEN DECATUR scuttles the pirate-held USS Philadelphia in Tripoli.