GM has confirmed it intends to exercise its option under the GM/Delphi master restructuring agreement to acquire the supplier’s global steering business, buying back operations it once owned before Delphi was spun off as a separate entity.

“The business will be operated as a stand-alone business much as it is today and, at least in the near term, will be held in a wholly owned subsidiary of GM,” the automaker said.

“A diverse customer base and the ability to self-fund the operations will be essential to the business’ long-term future. To achieve these goals, new business opportunities and technologies will continue to be aggressively pursued.

GM added it expected the transaction to be completed in the second quarter of 2009 but did not disclose terms.

However, GM said it had agreed to increase its advance agreement commitments from US$300m to $450m to support Delphi’s near-term liquidity needs, from 24 March.

These latest moves need final approval from the US treasury (as part of GM’s recent government bailout loand deal) and the bankruptcy court (supervising Delphi’s Chapter 11 restructure).