GM to Sell Transmission Plant in France to Stem Losses

Dec. 22 (Bloomberg) -- General Motors Co., will sell a French transmission plant to a private Belgian company as part of an effort to end losses in Europe that have totaled $17.3 billion since 1999.

The plant in Strasbourg, France, will be bought by Punch Metals International, which will retain the employees, according to a GM statement on its website yesterday. ZF Friedrichshafen AG, a maker of auto and truck parts, agreed to purchase transmissions from the plant. A price wasn’t disclosed.

GM will be a customer of the factory in 2013 and 2014 “to maintain a robust level” of output “to provide for a smooth transition” to a ZF-based product line, the automaker said. The plant employs about 1,000 people.

GM started a strategic review of the plant in May, hiring Barclays Plc (BARC) to solicit bids from potential buyers, while also evaluating other options to keep the facility open. The Detroit-based automaker said in October losses in Europe may reach $1.8 billion this year, and that it’s seeking to break even in the region within three years.

GM said yesterday it expects to complete the plant sale early next year.

GM fell 0.1 percent to $27.32 at the close in New York yesterday. The shares have gained 35 percent this year as of yesterday.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bill Koenig in Southfield, Michigan at wkoenig@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jamie Butters at jbutters@bloomberg.net

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