Looking for ways to bolster its bottom line and balance the budget, the Canadian government has sold off shares in General Motors that it bought as part of the automaker’s 2009 financial bailout.

At the end of the day Monday, the 73.4 million shares were worth about $3.3 billion.

Canadian Finance Minister Joe Oliver said the sale returns “GM to private-sector ownership and eliminated a market exposure for Canadian taxpayers,” adding that the government’s “investment in GM was always meant to be temporary.”

With the sale, the shares become the property of investment company Goldman Sachs; GM itself won’t see any proceeds from the deal, which one American industry analyst called “ceremonial.”

For the Conservative government, the funds from the sale could be what helps it fulfill its promise of a balanced budget in light of negative economic impact of low oil prices.


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