GM repays US taxpayers $2.1 billion (AFP)

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WASHINGTON (AFP) – General Motors has repaid a further 2.1 billion dollars in government bailout funds, bringing the total sum recouped by taxpayers to more than 23 billion dollars, the US Treasury said Wednesday.

GM has now repurchased all of its preferred stock issued under the Treasury’s Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), the department said in a statement.

The latest repurchase followed GM’s hugely successful return to public trading last month. The November 18 initial public offering raised 13.5 billion dollars for taxpayers.

The largest US automaker, reeling from an industry slump as the economy grappled with a financial crisis, received 49.5 billion dollars from the Treasury and emerged from a bankruptcy restructuring in July 2009.

“Temporary support through TARP to General Motors during the financial crisis was essential to preventing a devastating collapse of the American auto industry and saving more than one million American jobs,” Tim Massad, acting assistant Treasury secretary for financial stability, said in the statement.

“The fact that the auto industry has created tens of thousands of jobs since GM emerged from bankruptcy and that Ford, GM, and Chrysler are all operating at a profit for the first time in six years is further evidence that the decision to provide support was the right one.”

Chrysler was also rescued by the government, while Ford did not seek financial aid.

The Treasury said its remaining stake in GM now consists of 500,065,254 shares of common stock.

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