GM withdraws request for €1.8bn of loan guarantees

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The Independent Online

General Motors yesterday withdrew a request for loan guarantees from European governments, saying it now had the firepower to finance a restructuring of the company without outside support.

Last year, the US car-maker, which owns the Vauxhall and Opel marques, asked the British, German, Spanish, Polish, Austrian and Belgian governments to guarantee loans of €1.8bn (£1.5bn) to help it raise crucial financing from the debt markets. GM's poor credit rating would have meant that borrowing the money without public-sector support would have prohibitively expensive.

Yesterday, however, GM withdrew the request, hinting that it had become frustrated by the slow progress of the discussions. "The validity and reasons for requesting government guarantees have... not changed, but the process has proven to be much more complex and longer than anticipated and the results are still not finalised or certain," the company said.

"In these circumstances, and given the need to progress the plan quickly, it has been decided to fund the requirements internally.

"GM's recently improved financial strength has also been a catalyst for making this decision."

The move by GM comes just a week after the German government refused to back €1.1bn of loans, arguing that the company's fortunes had improved sufficiently in recent months to render such a guarantee unnecessary.