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GM stock drops, Nissan posts loss

2009-05-13 07:06

Detroit - General Motors Corp shares hit their lowest level since the Great Depression on Tuesday and Nissan Motor Co posted a loss and expected more amid the deep global auto downturn.

GM, less than three weeks from a June 1 deadline to reach agreements with its stakeholders that could avert a bankruptcy filing, saw its shares fall to their lowest level since 1933 a day after current and former executives reported stock sales.

The automaker's stockholders would be left with 1% of the company under an out-of-court restructuring plan or could be wiped out if GM is forced into bankruptcy leaving the equity essentially worthless either way.

Canadian industry minister Tony Clement told reporters that he would meet with top US officials next week in Washington to assess GM's progress on restructuring.

Earlier on Tuesday, Nissan posted a fourth-quarter loss and forecast more losses this year as it looks to conserve cash by putting launches and growth plans on hold.

Nissan's forecast follows Toyota Motor Corp last week forecasting a bigger-than-expected annual loss and saying it expected to sell one million fewer vehicles on the year.

The vehicle industry globally continues to fight through a downturn that forced Chrysler into bankruptcy protection on April 30 and has threatened the survival of numerous auto parts suppliers as well.

GMAC financing for Chrysler dealers

US Bankruptcy Court Judge Arthur Gonzalez on Tuesday approved Chrysler's request that GMAC LLC be allowed to provide financing for Chrysler dealers, a decision enabling them to boost vehicle inventories if needed.

More than 60% of Chrysler's 3 200 dealers had been getting financing through Chrysler Financial, which halted its lending almost entirely after Chrysler filed for bankruptcy.

Without the GMAC financing, the dealer body would run out of working capital within weeks.

Chrysler has received bankruptcy court approval to proceed with a rapid sale of most of its assets to a new company held by Italy's Fiat SpA , a United Auto Workers union-aligned trust and the US and Canadian governments.

All told, Chrysler hopes to have completed the bulk of its bankruptcy process within 60 days of the filing. The sale would bring an end to Chrysler's ownership by private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management LP, which acquired an 80.1% stake from Daimler AG in August 2007.

Chrysler has been offering buyouts to all of its UAW workers in the United States and plans plant closings under its restructuring with new special buyouts that must be completed by May 26 for the plan to remain on track, according to a union memo obtained by Reuters.

Hayes Lemmerz International Inc , a maker of wheels and other auto components, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Monday in Delaware. The supplier expects the lenders who provided the debtor-in-possession financing to own substantially all of the equity in the reorganised company when it emerges from court protection.

Visteon Corp warned on Monday that it could be forced to seek court protection if discussions with lenders to restructure its debt are unsuccessful.


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