UPDATE 2-Ontario eyes potential sale of some gov't assets, GM stake
(Adds details, opposition party reaction)
By Cameron French
TORONTO, April 11 (Reuters) - The Ontario government said on Friday it plans to sell its stake in General Motors Co over the next year or so and will consider other options to raise funds, including the sale of real estate and government-owned assets.
The announcement, unveiled by Finance Minister Charles Sousa at a Toronto business luncheon, comes as Ontario's minority Liberal government prepares to unveil a budget that could throw the Canadian province into a summer election.
Sousa said the government will act when the market permits it to unload the GM stake. It announced plans in September to sell some of its stock, which it said then would leave it with about 36.7 million common shares and about 5.4 million preferred shares.
The stock was acquired when the Canadian and Ontario governments contributed more than C$10 billion ($9.13 billion) to a bailout to keep GM afloat.
The province will also sell the headquarters of provincial liquor monopoly LCBO and will consider selling other real estate assets, including the Ontario Power Generation (OPG) building. Both buildings are on valuable real estate in downtown Toronto.
"We are going to evaluate the best use of these assets as well as the maximum potential of the respective crown business," Sousa said. Proceeds will go into a fund to pay for infrastructure projects across the province.