General Motors S&P 500 inclusion marks next step in recovery

Free Float

GM’s free float has increased to at least 56.2% this year from 44.5% at the beginning of 2012, data compiled Bloomberg show. A minimum free float -- the percentage of shares available to the public -- of 50% is required for companies to be considered for addition to the S&P 500, according to criteria published on the website of S&P Dow Jones Indices, a joint venture of McGraw-Hill Cos. and CME Group Inc.

“The GM team has been working very hard to earn the business of customers around the world and to win the confidence of investors, and rejoining the S&P 500 shows we’re very much on track,” Chief Executive Officer Dan Akerson said in an e-mail.

GM and Citigroup Inc. were removed from the Dow Jones Industrial Average and replaced by Cisco Systems Inc. and Travelers Cos. on June 1, 2009. GM filed for bankruptcy protection that day and Citigroup was recipient of $45 billion in taxpayer aid.

The automaker has been profitable every quarter since its IPO in November 2010. GM is being helped by plans to introduce about 20 new vehicles in the U.S. this year, including Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups, as it seeks to rebound from an 88-year-low market share in 2012.

Cadillac ATS

The company’s new Cadillac ATS, introduced last year, is already boosting sales, with the luxury brand’s deliveries increasing 38% to 69,750 through May. That was the brand’s biggest year-to-date increase since 1976, when sales jumped 45% to 135,258.

“S&P is allowing them back in as a salute to the significant actions they’ve taken,” Michael Shinnick, a fund manager at Salt Lake City-based Wasatch Advisors Inc., said in a phone interview yesterday. His firm manages $16 billion and owns GM shares. “The company didn’t just get profitable for a quarter or a year. They’ve demonstrated now multiple years of steady profitability.”

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