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March 27, 2009

GM unit may get Thai govt aid if parent ‘survives’
General Motors Corp’s Thai unit may get financial help from the country’s government to build a 15 billion baht ($422.2 million) diesel engine plant if GM stays in business, Bloomberg news quoted a senior cabinet minister as saying Thursday.

The state-run Export-Import Bank of Thailand may help arrange loans for the unit if its parent, the largest US automaker, stays solvent, Deputy Prime Minister Korbsak Sabhavasu said in an interview.

“We will support the company if they survive back home,” Korbsak said.

The funds would help GM meet its goal of receiving $6 billion from Canada, Germany, the UK, Sweden and Thailand on top of the $16.6 billion it requested from the US to avoid bankruptcy.

The Thai unit has cut about 30 percent of its workforce as part of GM’s plan to cut 47,000 jobs, and expects output to fall 57 percent this year to about 45,000 units.

Aid to GM “would just be ordinary commercial loans, not at a preferential rate,” Korbsak said. GM’s Thai unit needs government assistance because of laws that limit the amount banks can lend to a single company, he said.

The unit expects a response from the EXIM bank on extending the funds for the plant within 10 days, the Nation reported today, citing Steve Carlisle, the head of GM’s Southeast Asia operations. The company is also talking with other banks about funding to start construction by the third quarter, the newspaper reported.


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