Unstructured Finance

The Value of Experience

March 31, 2009

BRITAIN/(Corrected – Bank of America did not purchase Countrywide early this decade)

Now that the nation’s top public servant is wielding The Donald-like powers over chief executives of bailed-out companies, expectations are high that more heads will roll, and Bank of America CEO Kenneth Lewis is looking like the next contestant on a new economic prime-time drama: The Executive.

Fiat a compli

March 30, 2009

GENERAL-MOTORS/In retrospect, GM CEO Rick Wagoner’s demise was perhaps the most inevitable twist in the autos overhaul saga to date. The chance that he would present a radical plan to Obama this week, one dramatic enough to save his job, was slim at best. A more shocking result, one clearly less viable for Obama, would have been to make a few more threatening noises and hand out the cash that the company so desperately needs without demanding a very public pound of flesh – a head, in this case.

Going… going…

February 26, 2009

USA/General Motors said it expects auditors to cast doubt on its ability to remain viable as it endures the worst market in decades. Posting a deeper-than-expected quarterly loss as revenue plunged by more than a third, the automaker said it could receive a “going concern” notice from its auditors.

Saab Story

February 20, 2009

GM/SAABIn its latest turnaround plan, General Motors made clear that its money-losing Swedish unit Saab would be independent within a year. Wasting no time, Saab said it would seek protection from creditors and restructure. Better to start with a clean slate.

GM to cut 10,000 salaried jobs

February 10, 2009

General Motors employees hold signs and chant before a vehicle reveal during press days at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, January 11, 2009. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

The pain in the auto industry keeps getting worse. General Motors has just announced that it will cut its global salaried workforce to about 63,000 from 73,000 this year. The remainder of its salaried staff face pay cuts.

Santa for automakers, Grinch for taxpayers?

December 30, 2008

grinchA company in the U.S. auto industry fails — and the government steps in as savior. Yet again. That’s right. Santa visits the automakers this year while the Grinch steals taxpayers’ Christmas.

Autos closer to life support

December 19, 2008

CAMBODIA-BIRDFLU/The lame duck may have some quack in it yet.

When President Bush said on Thursday that his administration would not allow a “disorderly” bankruptcy or collapse of the U.S. automakers — leaving “orderly” bankruptcy on the table — it seems to have spurred on the negotiations between Detroit and the White House. General Motors and Chrysler are now close to securing emergency loans as part of a U.S. government aid package, according to sources familiar with the talks.

One way to shrink a bailout…

December 18, 2008

USA-BUSH/Each day that goes by without a Detroit bailout, the Dwindling Three get smaller. Chrysler is shutting down production for at least a month, and The Wall Street Journal reports that the company is again negotiating with GM about a merger. GM, which is denying it is talking again with Chrysler, slashed its Q1 production target by 60 percent and said it would temporarily idle about 30 percent of its North American assembly plant volume.

Racing to the Rescue

December 16, 2008

FRANCE/Who in the world doesn’t believe in supporting the auto business? As the U.S. Treasury contemplates the extent to which it will pump funds into the Detroit Three, European leaders are revving up measures to keep their car companies chugging along.

A bailout too far

December 12, 2008

AUTOS/Senate Republicans who killed an auto industry bailout must have had a particularly nasty sense of deja vu. If they didn’t get on board, the economy would collapse. “For the hundreds of thousands of people whose jobs depend on this industry, this will not be joyous season,” bellowed Sen. Chris Dodd. It was up to the Republicans. To save Detroit, all they had to do was sign over a fraction of what they’d agreed to for Wall Street.