GM’s Akerson rejects any payments for the federal bailout image

The General Motors bailout may have cost the government $10 billion, but GM CEO Dan Akerson rejects any suggestion that the company should compensate for the losses.

Akerson spoke in the wake of Treasury announcement last week that it sold its last shares in GM and Akerson’s decision to retire in January. He says Treasury officials took the same risk assumed by anyone who purchases stock. He also said the government’s $49.5-billion aid to GM helped save billions of dollars in tax revenue and government social services.

“I would not accept the premise that this was a bad deal,” Akerson said during a question-and-answer session at the National Press Club in Washington.

Akerson said that GM repaid all the debt issued by the government beginning in December 2008 when George W. Bush was still president and extending into the first year of Barack Obama’s presidency. He added that it was the Treasury’s decision – though one he clearly supported – to take an ownership stake in the form of company shares.

Asked whether GM should pay the difference between the amount the government provided the company and the return from the sale of the shares, Akerson said the “die was cast” by Treasury when it decided to take shares. For GM to make up for any shortfall could result in lawsuits from other shareholders. Those investors expect the company to resume paying a dividend for the first time since it exited bankruptcy in July 2009.

Via USA Today