Feds take time selling GM shares

Daniel Proussalidis, Parliamentary Bureau

, Last Updated: 5:22 PM ET

OTTAWA — A day after the U.S. government dumped its last shares in General Motors at a $10-billion loss, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s office confirmed there’s no rush to sell the Canadian stake in the automaker.

“We will divest because government shouldn’t be in the car business, but we will divest appropriately over time to ensure we maximize the return for Canadian taxpayers,” said Flaherty’s spokeswoman Kathleen Perchaluk in an e-mail Tuesday.

Still, Perchaluk said the sale of the shares acquired through the government’s 2009 auto bailout would happen in a “timely manner.”

Canada sold around 30 million shares in September for about $1.1 billion, with about a third of that amount going to the Ontario government for its General Motors stake.

The Canadian and Ontario governments still own 110 million General Motors common stock and 16 million of General Motors preferred shares.

The common shares closed at $40.62 on the TSX Tuesday.

General Motors’ government-owned preferred shares do not trade publicly.