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Can GM survive without new US aid?

2009-03-13 07:20

Detroit - General Motors Corp has told US officials that it can survive through March without the additional $2 billion in emergency aid that it first requested, the automaker said on Thursday.

GM said in a statement that it had been able to defer the first tranche of its aid request after stepping up the pace of planned cost-cutting and holding back on some spending that had been planned for January and February.

Shares of GM rose 9% to $2.03 after the announcement.

The automaker has been kept in operations since the start of the year with $13.4 billion in loans from the US Treasury and has asked for the government to provide up to $30 billion to fund its restructuring.

A task force headed by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and White House economic adviser Larry Summers is considering GM's aid request and a separate request for up to $9 billion in aid from Chrysler LLC.

The task force has until the end of March for its deliberations as GM works to secure new concessions from its bondholders and the United Auto Workers union to cut its debt by a combined $28 billion.

GM burned through $5 billion in the fourth quarter and ended the year reliant on the first $4 billion in loans it received from the US Treasury.

Under the restructuring plan submitted to US officials in mid-February, GM had forecast that it would burn through another $5.1 billion in January and February.

It was not immediately clear how the cost-cutting efforts GM made in the first months of the quarter had affected its projected cash burn rate.

GM chief financial officer Ray Young said the company remained in talks with the Obama administration task force overseeing the industry's aid requests.

"GM will remain in regular contact with the presidential task force on the auto industry on the status of GM's restructuring actions, its liquidity position, timing of future funding requests, and other relevant topics of mutual concern," Young said in a statement.

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