General Motors Co has completed repayments totaling $5.8bn to the US and Canadian governments for loans that helped fund the US automaker’s bailout last year, the company has announced.

GM, which emerged from bankruptcy in July 2009, had pledged to repay the balance of loans from the US Treasury and Export Development Canada “in full by June at the latest.”

“Our ability to pay back these loans less than a year after emerging from bankruptcy is a sign that our plan for building a new GM is working,” GM Chief Executive Ed Whitacre said in an opinion piece posted on the Wall Street Journal website.

The loans had outstanding balances of about $4.7bn to the US and $1.1bn to Canada after accounting for exchange rates.

“It is also an important step toward eventually reducing the amount of equity the governments of the US, Canada and Ontario hold in our company,” Whitacre said.

GM received about $50bn of US government support in its bailout, much of which was converted to common and preferred stock in GM unaffected by the loan repayments.

The US Treasury holds a 60.8 percent stake in the common stock of GM, Export Development Canada 11.7 percent, the United Auto Workers healthcare trust 17.5 percent and old GM, now known as Motors Liquidation, holds 10 percent.

The automaker has been preparing for an eventual public offering that would allow the governments to reduce their stakes in GM and earlier in April released the first full accounting of its balance sheet as a restructured company.

GM reported a net loss of $4.3bn for the period from its emergence from bankruptcy in July through the end of 2009, including a $3.4bn net loss for the fourth quarter.

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