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Deutsche Bank cuts GM stake to 4 percent from 5.5 percent

From Reuters | February 08,2007

Deutsche Bank AG cut its stake in General Motors to 4 percent from 5.5 percent, the bank said in a filing with federal regulators today.

Deutsche Bank reduced its holding in the world's largest automaker to 22.6 million shares from 31.3 million shares, it said in the filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

"I wouldn't read too much into it," Standard & Poors equity analyst Efraim Levy said. "Share holdings change over time. And Deutsche doesn't hold a major stake and they are not an active shareholder."

GM, which lost $10.6 billion in 2005 and more than $3 billion in the first three quarters of 2006, is in the middle of a sweeping restructuring that includes slashing more than 34,000 jobs and closing 12 plants.

The company's shares have risen more than 72 percent since the start of 2006 as investors have gained confidence in its turnaround plans. The stock was up 5 cents, or 0.1 percent, at $33.67 in trading today on the New York Stock Exchange.

"That was an overhang on the stock," Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer of Solaris Asset Management, said of the German bank's share reduction. "I think everyone knew the stake would be liquidated, the market was anticipating it."

"They still have 4 percent. It's not a bad time not to take some profits off the table," he said. "I think it's just healthy diversification and smart profit-taking on their part."

Deutsche Bank will now move down a spot to become GM's sixth-largest institutional stakeholder. State Street Global Advisors is GM's largest with a 15.1 percent stake.

GM is expected to report fourth-quarter earnings this month, after announcing in January it will delay the statement and restate four years of past results because of an accounting error dating back to the end of 2001.

The automaker also said it expected to be profitable in the fourth quarter, with net income expected to "improve significantly" compared with a year earlier.

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