Page last updated at 17:22 GMT, Saturday, 29 November 2008

Cash-strapped GM mulls asset sale

Opel factory in Germany
GM is burning cash faster than it is making money

General Motors (GM) has said it is looking to sell and lease back some of its properties around the world to raise desperately needed funds.

The move comes as the US car giant, along with Chrysler and Ford, thrashes out restructuring plans to send to Congress to get a $25bn (16.3bn) loan.

GM has been battling against falling sales and the squeeze on credit and is fast running out of cash.

The sale and leaseback programme could raise $257m (167m), reports suggest.

Commercial property dealers Jones Lang LaSalle has been hired by the European arm of the company to help identify non-manufacturing assets that could be sold.

Possible sites that have been identified are the UK headquarters and a parts warehouse, both in Luton, Bedfordshire, according to Denis Chick, a spokesman for GM's UK and Irish Republic division.

"Jones Lang LaSalle are helping us assess the saleability of sites - a difficult job in the current economic climate, " he said.

"Once that's done, the next step will be to put a price on the assets."

But he said he could not disclose further details.

The company has already announced job cuts and delays to projects, including new car designs, to trim costs and earlier this month said it would sell its 3% stake in the Japanese carmaker Suzuki for $230m (150m).

US legislators are expected to convene next week to assess whether a $25bn federal aid package will be sufficient to make the "Big Three" Detroit carmakers financially viable.

Separately, motor car chiefs in the UK met with business secretary Peter Mandelson last week to appeal for government assistance to help them through the downturn.

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