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GM's Massive Taxpayer IOU Remains

DETROIT ( TheStreet) -- Anyone who skimmed the headlines about General Motors' (GM - Get Report) bailout repayment in April could be forgiven for wondering why we're still talking about it.

"GM Repays Treasury Loan in Full," said the U.S. Treasury Department's press release.

"We have repaid our government loan, in full, with interest, five years ahead of schedule," then-CEO Ed Whitacre said in a commercial , to a backdrop of empowering instrumental music.

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"We are encouraged that GM has repaid its debt well ahead of schedule," Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said in a statement .

But skeptics might have noticed that GM wasn't actually repaying all of its bailout - just its debt, in technical terms. It still owed taxpayers $2.1 billion in preferred stock, along with a 60.8% equity stake that's now being cashed in.

Even seven months later - after GM raised $23.1 billion in the largest initial public offering ever - the company still owes the government a big chunk of change.

According to the most recent transaction report for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the Treasury Department distributed $50.7 billion to General Motors; $16.3 billion to its one-time financing subsidiary, GMAC (now rebranded as Ally Financial); offered a $3.5 billion credit line to GM Supplier Receivables; and will distribute up to $1.5 billion in incentives to GMAC Mortgage to workout troubled homeowners' debt.

Taxpayers have been made whole, with interest, on just one of those components - the smallest one.

GM's supplier receivables subsidiary ended up using only $290 million of the credit line. In a restructured debt arrangement, GM paid back the borrowings, with $56.5 million in interest. It represented a 19% return on investment over less than a year.

As for the larger taxpayers' investments, the picture isn't quite as pretty as it's been painted.

The government has received $20.7 billion back from General Motors - meaning the automaker alone - through $7.1 billion in debt repayments and $13.6 billion in sales of common stock during the IPO. The Treasury now has 553.8 million shares of GM, worth $18.7 billion as of Friday's close. That leaves an $11.3 billion gap between what taxpayers shelled out to GM (the automaker) and where those loans and investments stand today.
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