ISTANBUL 

US automotive giant General Motors has suspended quarterly cash dividends and its share buyback program to preserve its liquidity position amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We continue to enhance our liquidity to help navigate the uncertainties in the global market created by this pandemic,” Dhivya Suryadevara, the automaker’s chief financial officer, said in a press release on Monday.

She added: “Fortifying our cash position and strengthening our balance sheet will position the company to create value for all our stakeholders through this cycle.”

The press release said the firm made an extension of $3.6 billion to strengthen its liquidity structure under its revolving credit facility to April 2022.

The firm’s share dropped over 2% to $21.47 after the announcement.

After originating in China last December, COVID-19 has spread to at least 185 countries and regions. Europe and the US are currently the worst-hit regions.

The virus has affected nearly 966,000 people in the US so far, causing around 55,000 deaths.

The pandemic damaged several sectors, especially manufacturing, tourism and travel, due to measures taken by the governments, such as lockdowns.

The pandemic has killed over 207,000 people worldwide, with total infections approaching 3 million and more than 875,000 recovering, according to figures compiled by the US’ Johns Hopkins University.

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