Interest expense for the first nine months of 2012 totaled $100 million, compared to $84 million in the prior year period, reflecting the debt financing incurred at the end of the first quarter of 2011 to redeem the ownership interests previously held by General Motors Company and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.
Tax expense for year-to-date 2012 was $227 million, resulting in an effective tax rate of approximately 19%, compared to $276 million, or an effective rate of 24%, in the prior year period. The improvement in 2012 primarily reflects the impacts of the geographic mix of pretax earnings, tax planning initiatives, and the reduction of withholding taxes.
In the first nine months of 2012, the Company generated net cash flow from operating activities of $1,168 million, as compared to $909 million in the prior year period. Cash flow before financing totaled $642 million compared to $534 million in the prior year period.
As of September 30, 2012, the Company had cash and cash equivalents of $1.6 billion and access to $1.3 billion in undrawn committed revolving bank facilities, providing the Company with $2.9 billion of total liquidity. Total debt outstanding as of September 30, 2012 was $2.1 billion.Share Repurchase Program During the third quarter of 2012, the Board of Directors authorized a share repurchase program of up to $750 million of ordinary shares. This program follows the completion in the third quarter of 2012 of $300 million of share repurchases under the Company's previously announced share repurchase program that commenced in January 2012. During the three and nine months ended September 30, 2012, Delphi repurchased 5.44 million and 10.74 million shares at an average price of $29.78 and $29.08, which totaled approximately $162 million and $312 million, respectively, leaving approximately $738 million available under the $750 million repurchase program. These share repurchases are in addition to approximately $180 million of ownership interest repurchases in the third quarter of 2011. All repurchased shares were retired, and are reflected as a reduction of ordinary share capital for the par value of the shares, with the excess applied as reductions to additional paid-in capital and retained earnings.