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GM Has Reasonable Chance at Profit This Year: CFO

Bailed-out auto company General Motors has a "reasonable chance" of being profitable this year, and it plans to repay its government loans as soon as possible, CFO Chris Liddell told CNBC Wednesday.

A Chevrolet dealership in Loveland, Colorado.
David Zalubowski
A Chevrolet dealership in Loveland, Colorado.

Liddell said the company, which emerged from bankruptcy last year, plans to set up an initial public offering. Though there is not yet a timetable for it, it could happen in the second half of 2010, he said.

But Liddell, speaking to reporters for the first time in his new role after joining GM from Microsoft , said the automaker will not rush into an IPO.

"We'll do it when we're ready," said Liddell, who has been full-time on the job at GM for about two months.

GM had been planning for an IPO within about a year after its emergence from a bankruptcy reorganization supported by the U.S. government, which now holds a more than 60 percent stake.

"Even in the few months I've been here, I've been encouraged by the progress we've made, but when it will all come together is impossible to say," Liddell said of the timing for an IPO.

In February, GM reported an 11.5 percent sales increase in the US, helped by new models and Toyota's woes.

GM's sales of its Buick, Chevrolet, Cadillac and GMC brands climbed 32 percent. It plans to keep those four brands and is phasing out Pontiac, Saturn and Hummer. It has sold Saab.

Recently, General Motors CEO Ed Whitacre said the company would pay back roughly $8 billion in debt to the US and Canada before June, earlier than it had promised.

But Liddell admitted there are too many variables to predict if the government will get its entire investment back. The US Treasury lent GM these funds to help finance its restructuring in bankruptcy.

Liddell said GM is on track to complete post-bankruptcy fresh start accounting and the automaker's financial management was "not as bad as has been characterized."

Reuters contributed to this report

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