The U.S. government has a "clear path" to sell its remaining stake in General Motors Co., a senior Obama administration official said Wednesday.
The U.S. government plans to exit its investment in GM "as soon as practicable," former auto czar Ron Bloom told the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, according to prepared remarks posted on the committee's website.
GM went public last year, allowing the U.S. government to nearly halve its 61 percent stake in the automaker that stemmed from its federal bailout in 2009. The government currently holds 32 percent of GM's common equity.
"The government remains a reluctant shareholder and intends to dispose of its investment as soon as practicable, with the dual goals of achieving financial stability and maximizing returns to taxpayers," Bloom told the government committee, which has broad oversight on government policies.
Bloom, now the White House manufacturing adviser, testified during hearing called "Lasting Implications of the General Motors Bailout." Vincent Snowbarger, the director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp, also testified.
Sources previously told Reuters the U.S. Treasury did not plan to sell its remaining shares in GM until August, after the automaker's second-quarter earnings report.
GM shares have fallen below their $33 IPO price, due in part to concerns about government involvement. GM stock rose 38 cents or 1.3 percent to $29.97 on the New York Stock Exchange.
Bloom declined to discuss the effect of the bailout on the underfunded pension plans at U.S. auto supplier Delphi because he has been named a defendant in a lawsuit related to pension shortfalls in federal court in Michigan.
Delphi was spun off from GM in 1999. Delphi sought bankruptcy protection in 2005 and emerged four years later.
In 2009, the PBGC took control of billions of dollars of retirement obligations for 70,000 workers and retirees at Delphi. The PBGC is the U.S. agency that insures corporate pensions.
In his prepared remarks, Snowbarger said the PBGC said it is now responsible for about $6 billion of the Delphi plans' shortfall, but about $1.2 billion of benefits is not guaranteed by the insurance program.
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