Several of this week’s top stories revolve around the current auto industry crisis being discussed on Capitol Hill this week. Among our top stories this week came news of two automakers selling off portions of their businesses in order to stretch their dwindling finances a little longer.
On Monday, General Motors announced it would sell its entire stake in Suzuki Motor Corp. for $230 million. Suzuki said it would buy back the 3.02 percent stake from GM. The two will reportedly continue their business partnership in some fashion, according to the Associated Press.
This week, Ford also announced that it is selling a portion of its ownership stake in Mazda Motor Corp. Reducing the ratio of its ownership in Mazda stock from 33.4 percent to just over 13 percent, Ford will net approximately $540 million.
Nearly 100 suppliers to the automakers wrote a letter to the House and Senate calling upon Congress to provide immediate financial assistance to the auto industry and to include the supplier industry in any options. The letter also urged establishment of a loan program for vehicle manufacturers and suppliers and expressed opposition to efforts to cap the amount of loans available to suppliers in the current Department of Energy loan program. Yesterday and Wednesday, auto and supplier execs gave testimony detailing the severity of the financial crisis in the industry. They were told by lawmakers to create a plan establishing “accountability and viability” by Dec. 2, in order to receive financial support from the government.
In other financial news, Genuine Parts Co. this week increased the number of shares of its common stock authorized for repurchase by 15 million shares. The company’s share repurchase program originally authorized the repurchase of 15 million shares in August 1994, April 1999 and August 2006, for a total authorization of 45 million shares.
Rounding out our top five news stories of the week comes news of a new VP at Advance Auto Parts. Morgan Schafer, who joins Advance from the restaurant and retail industries, has been named regional vice president. He will report to Derrick Thomas, senior vice president of operations.