UPDATE 1-About 40,000 workers accept GM, Delphi buyouts


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DETROIT, June 23 (Reuters) - About 40,000 hourly workers have accepted buyout and early retirement offers by General Motors Corp. and Delphi Corp. , exceeding expectations, a United Auto Workers union local official said on Friday.

About 30,000 GM workers have taken the offer as of Friday morning, while about 10,000 workers at Delphi, a former GM parts unit that has filed for bankruptcy, have taken the offer, the official said.

"It has exceeded all our expectations," the UAW local official said.

The buyout offers end later on Friday.

The number of blue-collar workers who accept the early retirement incentives has been closely watched as an indicator of the success of GM's turnaround efforts.

"We believe the company is successfully accelerating its restructuring efforts through its buyout program. which will result in significant cost savings in the near-term," said Merrill Lynch analyst John Murphy, reiterating his "buy" rating on the GM stock on Friday.

GM has offered a sweeping package of buyouts ranging from $70,000 to $140,000 to more than 125,000 unionized factory workers in a bid to reduce costly benefits for an aging work force.

Representatives of GM and Delphi were not immediately available for comment.



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