NEW YORK — General Motors Corp. shares fell to their lowest point in more than 75 years Friday, as investors fretted that the ailing automaker might be forced to file for bankruptcy protection despite government help.
GM shares hit a low of $1.27 in late morning trading before rebounding to close down 41 cents, or 22 percent, at $1.45.
The low point matched a low set May 4, 1933, according to the Center for Research in Security Prices at the University of Chicago. The price is adjusted for splits and other changes.
GM said in a statement Friday that it has not changed its intention to avoid a bankruptcy filing, and that an out-of-court restructuring remains its best option to survive the worst auto sales climate in 27 years.
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The Detroit automaker lost $30.9 billion last year, is living on $13.4 billion in U.S. government loans, and is seeking up to $30 billion. GM is also hoping to get help from other countries. The automaker's Adam Opel AG subsidiary wants to secure at least $3.8 billion from the German government.
"As a prudent business measure, the company has analyzed various bankruptcy scenarios," GM said in its statement. "However, the company firmly believes an in-court restructuring would carry with it tremendous costs and risks, the most significant being a dramatic deterioration of revenue due to lost sales."
GM said in its annual report Thursday that it's on the edge of bankruptcy and won't be able to avoid it unless it gets more government money and successfully executes its restructuring plan. The company's auditors said they had doubts about whether GM can overcome its staggering losses and generate enough cash to stay in business.
Even if the automaker doesn't file for bankruptcy protection, analysts have said that a government bailout will also dilute the automaker's shares to the point that they are nearly worthless. Part of the company's restructuring plan is to get bondholders and the United Auto Workers union to accept new GM stock in exchange for debt and cash contributions to a retiree health care trust fund.