Chrysler Bail Out Loss - $1.3 Billion

The Treasury has just exited, stage left, from the Chrysler Bail Out. The probable loss? $1.3 billion dollars or 10% of the bail out. Even more ridiculous, if Treasury had just held onto the stock exchanges until 2017, they would have made a profit. Oh well, what's few billion here and there.

The government has received $560 million from Italian auto company Fiat in exchange for the 6 percent stake it held in the company. Treasury expects the U.S. will ultimately lose $1.3 billion from the effort to save Chrysler.

Fiat, which is implementing plans to merge with Chrysler, in May agreed to buy the government's stake in the company. Thursday's transaction marks the end of Treasury's financial backing for the auto manufacturer, which was on the verge of collapse at the height of the financial crisis.

While the government ultimately lost money in its efforts to save Chrysler, Treasury touted the end of the bailout as happening earlier than expected and said it saved American jobs.

“With today's closing, the US government has exited its investment in Chrysler at least six years earlier than expected,” said the Treasury's assistant secretary for financial stability, Tim Massad. “This is a major accomplishment and further evidence of the success of the Administration’s actions to assist the US auto industry, which helped save a million jobs during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.”

Fiat agreed to pay the government $500 million for 98,461 shares of Chrysler. It also paid $60 million for the rights to an agreement with the United Auto Workers union's retirement trust, which also held shares in Chrysler.

All told, the Treasury pledged $12.5 billion to Chrysler as part of the auto bailout. Fiat's final payment means the government has recouped roughly $11.2 billion of that amount.

The GM bail out, on the other hand, had a silver lining for GM invested $2 billion back into the U.S.

The U.S. Treasury is still holding about 33% of GM stock. Reports claim the Treasury will sell GM stock by December but they need to get above $33/share to break even. Right now GM stock is hovering around $29/share. Seems they want to get out of the bail out business, even when it makes no sense in terms of obtaining profits for the U.S. taxpayer. Ralph Nader also notes that despite bail outs, the lobbyists are out fighting against raising fuel efficiency standards.

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