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Aug 18, 2010

General Motors plans listings in New York and Toronto

Bailed-out car maker expected to float this autumn

General Motors (GM) geared up for its return to the public markets on Wednesday when it filed registration documents with the SEC.

The embattled car maker, which was declared bankrupt in June last year, says in its documents – known as a Form S-1 – that it plans to list common shares on the NYSE and the Toronto Stock Exchange.

The dual listing reflects the fact that the US and Canadian governments between them own more than 70 percent of GM.

Market watchers say the move paves the way for an initial public offering (IPO) that could be the second biggest in US history.

The float is expected to take place in the autumn and raise between $12 bn and $16 bn. This would place it in second place behind Visa, which raised $19.7 bn in March 2008.

The main beneficiary of the float will be the US Treasury Department, which owns just over 60 percent of the car maker, following a bailout by the US government last year.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Treasury said it has agreed to be named as a selling shareholder in the IPO. It did not specify how much of its holding it planned to offload.

The Canadian government, which holds 12.5 percent of GM, said on Wednesday it had yet to decide whether it would take part in the IPO, according to a report by Reuters.

The New York Times' DealBook has noted that the filing contains some interesting risk factors, including the admission by GM that its new management team needs to quickly learn about the automotive industry.