UPDATE 2-Canada finance minister says no plans to sell GM stake

Fri Nov 30, 2012 4:24pm EST
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* Flaherty says fire sale is not in taxpayers' interest

* Ontario official says stake will be sold for best return

* Canada and Ontario became GM shareholders in 2009 bailout

* CAW union urges govt's to hold onto stakes

VICTORIA, British Columbia, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Canada has no immediate plans to sell its shares in General Motors Co, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said on Friday, and the province of Ontario said it would offload its GM stake only when it can get the "best possible return" for taxpayers.

Both were responding to a report in the Globe and Mail newspaper on Friday that said Ontario's finance minister believed it was time for both the Canadian and Ontario governments to shed their GM shares.

"I don't think at this time it would be in our interest, the taxpayers of Canada, to engage in a fire sale of those shares, and I don't intend to do it right now," Flaherty told reporters in Victoria, British Columbia.

The two governments became shareholders of GM in 2009 when they contributed a combined C$10.8 billion ($10.89 billion) to a bailout to keep GM afloat. The U.S. government provided about US$50 billion.

Canada and Ontario's combined 9 percent stake, made up of around 140 million common shares and 16.1 million preferred shares, was worth C$3.5 billion at the end of September.   Continued...