The Canadian government has unloaded its multibillion-dollar stake in General Motors.

The finance department said late Monday that it had sold nearly 73.4 million shares in an unregistered block trade to Goldman, Sachs & Co.

Taxpayers' stake in the automaker was worth more than US$2.69-billion, based on a US$36.66 price at the close.

The sell-off comes as Canada's Conservative government searches for ways to live up to its promise to balance its books in 2015-16, a long-running pledge that appeared at risk of remaining unfulfilled amid the negative economic impact of the global oil slump. The government had long reiterated its intention to eventually unload the GM shares.

The original 2009 investment was part of the effort to bail out the then-sputtering automaker.