The Canadian government has no immediate plans to sell the stake it owns in General Motors, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said on Wednesday.
The comments were made following news the U.S. Treasury will sell its entire stake in GM over 15 months. However, the official said the stake will be sold eventually.
“We’ve always been clear about two things. One, that we will not have a fire sale – we will not sell the shares without getting the best value we can for Canadian taxpayers – and secondly, that we are a Conservative government. We are not interested in the long term in being shareholders in private corporations. Over time we do intend to divest. On the timing, I’ll have to get back to you,” Flaherty was quoted as saying by Reuters.
The Finance Minister also said he spoke Wednesday morning with the chairman of General Motors, Dan Akerson, to discuss the sale. The Canadian federal government and the province of Ontario became GM shareholders in 2009, when together they contributed $10.89 billion to a bailout that kept GM working. The U.S. government contributed about $50 billion.
Together, Canada and Ontario own 9 percent of GM, consisting of around 140 million common shares and 16.1 million preferred shares. At the end of September, the shares were worth $3.5 billion.