Senior members of the Obama administration's auto industry task force are meeting on Friday at the White House to review the status of restructuring efforts at General Motors Corp and Chrysler LLC, officials said.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and White House economic adviser Lawrence Summers are convening Friday's meeting of senior economic, transportation, energy, labor and environmental officials, the Treasury Department said.
It is the first top-level session since the task force was convened last month. At that time, Geithner instructed members to recommend restructuring options at the next meeting.
The Bush administration approved a $17.4 billion bailout for GM and Chrysler in December that requires the new Obama administration to determine by March 31 whether the companies can be commercially viable and worthy of any additional help.
GM and Chrysler have asked for $22 billion in new bailout funds.
The bailout terms also require GM and Chrysler to negotiate significant concessions with labor and to substantially reduce debt -- neither of which have been completed.
GM and bondholders, whose representatives met with the task force on Thursday in Washington, have been in negotiations to convert a sizable portion of debt to equity in a deal similar to one announced by Ford Motor Co this week.
Gimme Credit analyst Shelly Lombard said the administration is unlikely to extend the March timeline for a deal, especially in light of the agreement announced this week at Ford Motor Co
to cut roughly 40 percent of its $25.8 billion debt by
offering creditors cash and new shares.
Lombard said we'd expect the task force to push GM into bankruptcy rather than push back the deadline if they cannot reach a settlement.
We'd expect the government to provide a DIP(debtor-in-possession) loan backstop rather than allowing a free fall bankruptcy that could lead to GM and supplier liquidations, Lombard said.
Task force staff members have reviewed GM and Chrysler's turnaround plans with their top executives.
The task force has also met with restructuring experts and on Thursday discussed efforts to cut GM's debt with its bondholders. Also on Thursday, the task force met with Fiat SpA Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne to review a potential alliance with Chrysler.
Separately, an administration official said lead task force advisers Steve Rattner and Ron Bloom plan to visit GM and Chrysler facilities in Detroit next week as well as meet with the United Auto Workers union.
They do not plan to visit Ford, which has not sought a bailout.
(Reporting by John Crawley and Poornima Gupta; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)