The U.S. government last month accelerated its plans to fully exit General Motors Co. by March 2014.
In a monthly report to Congress, the U.S. Treasury Department disclosed that it sold $489.9 million worth of GM shares in February.
To date, the Treasury has recovered approximately $29.8 billion of its $49.5 billion investment in GM as part of the automotive bailout through repayments, sales of stock, dividends, interest, and other income.
Treasury did not disclose how many shares it sold in February, but based on stock prices in February, the government sold at least 17.2 million shares of stock
In December, the U.S. Treasury said it intended to begin selling its remaining shares as soon as this month. Officials said the "manner, amount, and timing of the sales under the plan are dependent upon a number of factors."
The announcement included GM purchasing 200 million shares of its stock back from the government for $5.5 billion, which represented a 7.9 percent, or about $2, premium over the stock's Dec. 18 closing price.
After the repurchase, the U.S. Treasury owned approximately 300 million shares of GM stock, or approximately 19 percent of the automaker. Officials said the government would start selling the stock as early as January, when it sold $156.4 million worth of stock.
GM stock [NYSE: GM] closed Monday up 31 cents a share to $28.31.
Since the $85 billion auto bailout, which forced GM and Chrysler into a government-backed bankruptcy, the automotive industry in general has continued to drive toward pre-recession levels.
GM alone has recorded record profits, and announced investments of more than $7.3 billion in the U.S. and created or retained more than 20,000 jobs.
The government ownership of GM was the result of the auto industry bailout that began under Bush in 2008 and which was expanded by President Barack Obama in 2009.
The U.S. Treasury initially owned nearly 61 percent of GM as part of the auto bailout, which forced the automaker and crosstown rival Chrysler through a government-backed bankruptcy.
The Obama administration completely exited Chrysler last year after recovering $11.2 billion of its $12.5 billion bailout to the Auburn Hills-based automaker.