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General Motors says repaying $8.1bn is a step to reducing state ownership.

British Broadcasting Corporation reported on Wednesday, that General Motors has repaid $8.1bn in loans it received from the United States and Canadian governments, less than a year after emerging from bankruptcy.

The carmaker said the repayment marked an important step towards GM reducing government ownership of the firm.

GM received almost $62bn from the US and Canada as recession brought it to the brink of collapse.

The GM's Chief Executive, Mr. Ed Whitacre, said the repayment showed 'our plan for building a new GM is working'.

GM, which owns the Vauxhall and Opel brands, still owes $45.3bn to the US and $8.1bn to Canada, money it received when the US and Canada took large stakes in the company.

The US owns 61 per cent of GM and Canada about 12 per cent. GM plans to start repaying this money with a share placing, possibly as early as this year if it can convince investors that the recovery strategy is working.

Whitacre, writing on the Wall Street Journal's website said: 'Our ability to pay back these loans less than a year after emerging from bankruptcy is a sign that our plan for building a new GM is working.'

'Nobody was happy that GM needed government loans – not the governments, not the taxpayers and, quite frankly, not the company,' he wrote.

He is expected to formally announce the repayment details on Wednesday, when he is also due to unveil new investment plans.

GM, which filed for bankruptcy protection last year, closed 14 factories and shed more than 65,000 jobs in the US. It emerged from bankruptcy protection in July.

Earlier this month, GM reported a $4.3bn net loss for July to December of last year.