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On Thursday, General Motors Corp. posted its best quarterly profit in six years in one of the clearest signs yet the ailing automaker (and its beleaguered industry) is on a road to recovery.

The record profits were posted slightly more than 12 months after a steep drop-off in sales caused by the financial crisis of 2008/2009.

GM says that the strong profits will pave the way for the company to file for an IPO and begin to rid itself of a more than US$50-billion taxpayer liability - company equity that is majority owned by the U.S. government.

Total second-quarter earnings came in at US$1.3-billion, a huge reversal from the US$12.9-billion it lost in the same period a year ago. Revenue jumped 44% to US$33.2-billion during the quarter.

Last year the government had estimated that it would take perhaps 8 years for the GM to pay taxpayers back. The quick GM rebound however has surprised even the most optimistic of forecasts.

“Given the extraordinary turnaround — frankly, faster and better than what we had imagined — I think the IPO could be very successful if the overall markets co-operate,” Steven Rattner, the Obama administration’s former Car Czar, said in an interview on Bloomberg Television.

Source: General Motors: 'Extraordinary Turnaround'