GM: Into bankruptcy, out of the Dow

Mondays don't get much worse than today for former icons of global capitalism


Andrew Leonard
June 1, 2009 6:13PM (UTC)

Fact for the day: If you declare bankruptcy, you are automatically disqualified from membership in the group of 30 public corporations that constitute the Dow Jones Industrial Average. It probably didn't help that GM's stock was trading at 75 cents per share at the close of trading on Friday. But it does make one wonder whether the immediate exuberance of the Dow (up 173 points in the first half hour) after the start of trading is really due, as suggested by the Wall Street Journal, to strong manufacturing data from China, or if it's just the normal physical reaction that occurs when you dump a ton of lead ballast out of the gondola beneath a hot air balloon. (Citigroup was also ousted from the Dow -- it's natural selection time on the stock market.)

The bottom line for GM comes about three-quarters of the way through the 24-page filing:

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The following financial data is the latest available information and refers to the debtor's condition on March 31, 2009.

a. Total assets on a consolidated basis: $82,290,000,000

b. Total debts on a consolidated basis: $172,810,000,000

Hard to make those numbers look good, no matter how you spin them.

The bulk of the filing consists of a list of GM's 50 largest unsecured creditors. In the top two positions are the Wilmington Trust (representing a group of bondholders holding about $22 billion) and the UAW, (representing employees owed about $20 billion.)

But lending to GM turns out to have been a truly global operation. Also making appearances in GM's nifty fifty are debtholders from Germany, Japan, Canada, France, India, Spain, Russia, and South Korea. This isn't just the greatest manufacturing collapse in  United States history -- it belongs to the whole world.


Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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