GM to announce brand changes

April 26, 2009 5:33:46 PM PDT
General Motors Corp. will announce details of its massive restructuring plan on Monday, including changes in its eight brands, potential factory closures and other restructuring moves as it fights to avoid bankruptcy protection. The struggling automaker must make the announcement in advance of a planned offer to its bondholders to swap debt for company stock. GM owes $28 billion to large and small bondholders, and under Securities and Exchange Commission rules, it must disclose its operational plans before making an exchange offer.

The disclosure is likely to include the end of the storied Pontiac brand, and could provide further details of factory closings. The company said in February that it would shutter five additional factories, but it didn't identify their locations.

The 9 a.m. EDT news conference will include Chief Executive Fritz Henderson, Chief Financial Officer Ray Young, North American President Troy Clarke and Mark LaNeve, vice president of North American sales and marketing.

GM is living on $15.4 billion in government loans and faces a government-imposed June 1 deadline to restructure or go into bankruptcy protection.

The government's restructuring demands include swapping at least two thirds of GM's unsecured bond debt for equity in the company. Such a move would help GM straighten out its debt-laden balance sheet.

Chrysler LLC, which is living on $4 billion in government loans and is expected to get $500 million more, faces a Thursday deadline to restructure and ink an alliance deal with Italian automaker Fiat SpA. The government also wants Chrysler to exchange much of its $6.9 billion in debt for equity in the company, but with the deadline fast approaching, Chrysler and its secured debtholders remain far apart.

Both GM and Chrysler also must win concessions from the United Auto Workers union. The UAW said late Sunday that it had reached agreement on concessions with Chrysler, Fiat and the U.S. government. Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne was in the U.S. as talks continued for the automaker to take a 20 percent stake in Chrysler in exchange for its small-car technology.

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