( Updated with closing stock price movements throughout.)
NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- American International Group (AIG - Get Report) was among the top performers of the financial sector Thursday after the insurer's new CEO said he expects to repay bailout funds to the U.S. government.
Bloomberg reported that Robert Benmosche, who last week took over as head of the troubled insurer, said he believes AIG will be able to pay back the government and also do something for the insurer's shareholders.
The U.S. government loaned AIG $182.5 billion in late 2008 after deciding that a failure would be too disruptive to financial markets. In return, AIG handed roughly an 80% stake to the U.S."The fact is we owe the U.S. government a lot of money and we are not going to be able to pay it back just by our profits, so we will sell some of the company off but only at the right time at the right price," Benmosche said in an interview, according to the report. AIG shares surged by 21.3%, to close at $32.30. Other insurers finished the session higher as well, with MetLife (MET) and Hartford Financial (HIG) rising 3.1% and 3.8%, respectively.