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GM files registration statement to make shareholder sales easier

A General Motors logo is seen on a Denali vehicle for sale at the GM dealership in Carlsbad, California January 4, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Blake
A General Motors logo is seen on a Denali vehicle for sale at the GM dealership in Carlsbad, California January 4, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Blake

DETROIT (Reuters) - General Motors Co on Friday filed a shelf registration statement that makes it easier for shareholders, including the U.S. Treasury, to sell stock in the company over the next three years.

The U.S. automaker said it was not aware of any specific plans by a shareholder to sell stock and a spokesman called the S-3 filing procedural. The statement allows shareholders to sell registered securities in a public offering.

U.S. Treasury took a stake in GM in 2009 as part of a $50 billion taxpayer-funded bailout and remains the company's largest shareholder, owning 242 million shares, or a 16.4 percent stake. A spokesman at Treasury was not immediately available.

Following GM's initial public offering in 2010, Treasury had a stake of 500 million shares. Last December, the agency announced it would sell $5.5 billion worth of GM stock - or 200 million shares - to the company as well as plans to exit the rest of its stake in the automaker by April 2014.

In January, Treasury initiated a pre-arranged written trading plan to sell the rest of its GM stake.

GM officials are eager to be free from government oversight and executives have said Treasury's exit also would likely result in a sales boost as some consumers unhappy over the U.S. taxpayer-funded bailout give the automaker a second look. The auto giant was dubbed "Government Motors" by many critics after the bailout.

The special paymaster for the Troubled Asset Relief program (TARP), Patricia Geoghegan, said Friday that Treasury had recovered about $30.4 billion of its investment in GM as of the end of March.

In the event of a sale in the future, GM said in its filing on Friday that terms would be set at the offering and described in a prospectus supplement filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

GM said it will not receive any of the proceeds of sales of common stock or warrants by the selling shareholders.

Separately on Friday, Geoghegan said chief executive compensation at GM and Ally Financial, the two companies that have not paid off their bailouts, remains unchanged since 2010. She added there had been some modification in the mix of stock salary and long-term restricted stock.

Cash compensation for the top 25 executives at the two companies has not increased from 2010 levels, Geoghegan said. The cash salaries in 2013 for those top executives as a group on average are 4 percent below the median for cash salaries and 56 percent below the median for total cash compensation for similar positions at similar companies, she said.

The paymaster said all but one of the 2013 pay packages approved contain mostly stock, rather than cash.

GM disclosed in regulatory filings on Thursday that CEO Dan Akerson's 2012 pay totaled $11.1 million, a 44 percent increase from 2011.

However, GM shifted the way it paid Akerson in a way that hinted that he could retire in 2015. Last year, Akerson was not awarded any restricted stock units (RSUs) "in acknowledgement of the possibility of his retirement before the completion of the three-year vesting period for RSUs," according to the proxy filing.

(Reporting by Ben Klayman, additional reporting by Deepa Seetharaman; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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