For public offering, GM to fly privately

Nov. 4, 2010 at 1:51 PM
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DETROIT, Nov. 4 (UPI) -- General Motors executives for the first time in more than a year expect to charter jets for initial public offering pitches, sources told The New York Times.

One of the headline-generating government stipulations for the bailed out U.S. automaker was that the company sell its private jets, which executives used for company business, including flying to Washington in November 2008 to ask for a government bailout, The New York Times reported Thursday.

The image of automobile executives flying luxury jets to Washington to ask for taxpayer assistance in an era of massive layoffs rankled the public and politicians. Humbled by the headlines, automobile executives drove from Detroit to Washington for follow up meetings. The company also sold its fleet of luxury aircraft and executives have flown commercial since, the Times reported.

More than a year later, GM, 59.9 percent owned by the government, is planning an initial public offering, expecting to raise about $13 billion before the end of the month. Top company executives have extensive itineraries scheduled to pitch the investment in the United States and Europe.

Officials speaking anonymously said GM would charter jets for the first time since its fleet was sold to meet their demanding schedules, the Times said.

U.S. Treasury Department spokesman Mark Paustenbach said the department was not "in anyway involved" in the company's decision to rent planes.

The company's decision was dictated by internal company policy, he said.

"GM's corporate travel policy allows charter flights when supported by a business rationale," company spokesman Tom Wilkinson said.

The company's internal expense guidelines say: "GM generally does not permit use of privately owned ... aircraft for business functions.

"Such instances are permissible only if economically justified with supporting business rationale."

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