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General Motors to sell transmission unit for $5.6 billion

General Motors Corporation will sell its Allison Transmission unit to investment firms Carlyle Group and Onex Corp for $5.6 billion, the world's largest automaker said Thursday.

The sale will help General Motors Corporation raise funds to pay for thousands of job cuts and plant closings after the firm's $12.4 billion in losses over the past two years, Bloomberg financial news service reported. Allison manufactures transmissions for buses and fire trucks in Indianapolis, Indiana, where it has seven factories and 3,400 employees. It had profits of $338 million last year and sales of $2.2 billion. “The $5.6 billion was definitely a positive surprise for GM investors,” Dan Poole of National City Bank in Cleveland, Ohio, told Bloomberg. “Anything that helps them keep focus on their core business and improves liquidity is a positive.” GM chief Rick Wagoner said the move would help improve the firm's liquidity and would support investment in new products and technologies. The deal could go through as early as the Q3. GM will retain a transmission plant in Baltimore, Maryland that focuses on pick-up and sport utility vehicles. (