General Motors Co has a real possibility of launching an initial public offering by the end of the year, Chief Executive Ed Whitacre said on Wednesday.

GM, which announced that it had completed repaying U.S. and Canadian government loans provided for its bailout last year, also believes its first-quarter results will show positive momentum, Whitacre told reporters at a GM plant.

The repaying of the loans, which totaled $8.4 billion initially, and the completion earlier in April of full accounting for its results since its emergence from bankruptcy in July 2009 were two key steps toward launching an IPO.

When asked whether the automaker could complete an offering by the end of 2010, Whitacre said: I am not certain at all, but we are working hard on it. It is a real possibility.

GM remains nearly 61 percent owned by the U.S. government and 12 percent owned by the Canadian government after the loan repayments. Most of the roughly $50 billion of support from the U.S. government was converted to common and preferred stock.

GM had already begun to repay the loans and has now paid off the balances of $4.7 billion to the U.S. Treasury and $1.1 billion to Export Development Canada.

Whitacre also said GM would invest $257 million at its Kansas City, Kansas, and Detroit Hamtramck assembly plants to build the next version of the Chevrolet Malibu.

(Reporting by Carey Gillam and David Bailey, editing by Matthew Lewis)