GM will be patient in making Opel profitable again, says CEO Akerson

Article by Christian Andrei, on September 17, 2010

As General Motors Co. boosts efforts to make European Opel/Vauxhall unit profitable once again, CEO Dan Akerson said that the company will be “patient.” He told reporters at GM's headquarters in Detroit that at this point, he doesn’t think that Opel requires a partner. Akerson took over as CEO on Sept. 1 – GM’s fourth CEO in 18 months.

Akerson aims to revive the European unit, where in the first half, losses totaled $637 million before interest and taxes.

Akerson replaced Whitacre, who stepped down so that GM will have a longer-term executive as it prepares its initial public offering. In June 2009, GM received a $50 billion taxpayer bailout.

Last August, a source said that GM seeks to raise up to $16 billion in its IPO. Akerson, who had served as Carlyle Group managing director, said that he wants the US to be fully repaid, but instead of repaying in “one fell swoop,” he sees it as a process.

He declined to be more specific about a time period for repayment. The IPO, which is expected to reduce stakes held by the US and Canada, has the potential to be the second-biggest stock sale in US history behind Visa Inc.'s $19.7 billion share sale in March 2008.

Akerson said that with regards to US sales in September, he is “pleased with results so far.” But as the auto industry had its worst August in 28 years, GM’s US deliveries dropped by 25%, to 185,176 from 246,479.

Researcher Autodata Corp. said that sales year-to-date have increased 6.3% from the year-earlier period. [via autonews - sub. required]

Topics: gm, opel, profit, dan akerson

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