GM bullish but no plans to IPO

City A.M. Reporter
GENERAL Motors has a “reasonable chance” to make a profit in 2010.

It could sell shares by late this year though it insists it has no timetable for an initial public offering (IPO) that would reduce the American government’s majority stake in the carmaker, chief financial officer Chris Liddell said yesterday.

Liddell, speaking to reporters for the first time in his new role after joining GM from Microsoft, said the firm would not rush into an IPO.

“Even in the few months I’ve been here, I’ve been encouraged by the progress we’ve made, but when it will all come together is impossible to say,” Liddell said of the timing for GM to return as a listed company.

It received £33bn of government financing to restructure in a bankruptcy steered by the US Treasury, which owns almost 61 per cent of the carmaker.

Liddell said GM’s restructuring has given it a shot at success by cutting costs and debt as it emerged from bankruptcy in July last year.

“The preconditions for success are extremely good – although maybe not so obvious to people when they look from the outside,” Liddell said.

He added: “I think we have a reasonable chance of being profitable this year. Relative to where we were a few years ago, that’s enormous progress.”

GM has lost £57bn since 2005. Liddell said the opportunity to be part of a turnaround at the automaker was part of the attraction as he weighed three other offers to leave Microsoft late last year.

“I had got to the stage at Microsoft where, after five years, I felt I had made all the difference I could and was reaching the point of diminishing returns,” he said.