Canada says undecided on selling GM stake in IPO

Canada has not yet decided whether to sell any shares in General Motors GM.UL in an initial public offering, but suggested on Tuesday it would take a long time to divest its stake in the troubled automaker.

"We'll see what the final terms of the IPO are, but this will not be dealt with once and for all at this time," Finance Minister Jim Flaherty told reporters.

GM plans to sell just over $13 billion of shares in its IPO, people familiar with the matter said on Monday, cutting the U.S. government's stake while opening the door for investment by overseas state-backed investors.

GM will file the terms in an updated prospectus for the IPO, which is expected during the week of Nov. 15, with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday, the sources said.

Canada's federal government and the provincial government of Ontario agreed in December 2008 to provide up to C$3 billion in repayable loans to General Motors.

Flaherty defended the move and said he expected taxpayers to recoup the money, but not necessarily any time soon. "This is not a short-term issue," he said.

"There will be a longer term to this than just this particular initiative by General Motors."

[Source: Reuters, 02Nov10]

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