Capital Markets

GM Drains Credit Line to Meet “Challenge”

By drawing down $3.5 billion, the automaker will improve its cash access "at a time when the capital markets have become more challenging," accordi...
Sarah JohnsonSeptember 22, 2008

General Motors Corp. plans to improve its liquidity by drawing down the remaining $3.5 billion of its $4.5 billion credit facility. The move will give the auto giant more flexibility for restructuring “during these uncertain times in the capital markets” the company said.

“Accessing the funds available to us is a prudent liquidity measure,” said GM treasurer Walter Borst. “Drawing on the revolver now improves our liquidity position at a time when the capital markets have become more challenging.”

GM may use the funds toward $750 million of debt maturities due in October and to pay at least $1.2 billion to Delphi Corp. in its reorganization efforts, pending court approval.

GM’s announcement on Friday came after a week of doubt over companies’ short-term ability to access capital amid an ever-tightening credit market. Following Lehman Brothers’ bankruptcy filing and the federal government extending of $85 billion to save American International Group, banks became wary of lending to each other and companies’ own cost of borrowing crept up.

Other, smaller companies have recently drawn down on their credit facilities to ensure they would continue to have access to capital. More than a week ago, FairPoint Communications, for example borrowed $200 million from its facilities, citing Lehman’s shaky future as its reason for doing so. The investment bank had accounted for 30 percent of FairPoint’s credit line.

As for GM, the company also said it has improved it liquidity by making a $322 debt to equity exchange. The company has issued 28.3 million new shares of its common stock for $322 million of senior convertible debentures that mature next June.