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Posted on April 8, 2011
GM IPO bodes well for new auto equity offeringsWed, Apr 6 2011Fiat poised to take 30 percent of Chrysler-reportsTue, Apr 5 2011UPDATE 3-Mexico’s Televisa eyes Slim’s mobile phone marketTue, Apr 5 2011WRAPUP 2-Latin America can weather Japan, Mideast crisesFri, Mar 18 2011UPDATE 3-Caterpillar sales step up, Deere sees Japan delaysFri, Mar 18 2011 Analysis & Opinion Full transcript of Robert Zoellick Newsmaker Welcome to MuniLand Related Topics Stocks » Mergers & Acquisitions » Global Markets » Cyclical Consumer Goods » Stocks
Thu Apr 7, 2011 6:10pm EDT
* Fiat to get 30 pct stake in Chrysler in 30-60 days -CEO
* ‘Would be wise’ for Fiat to get 51 pct before IPO -CEO (Adds CEO’s comments, background on bailout, IPO, Fiat market share in Brazil)
By Stephen Jewkes and Deepa Seetharaman
BOLOGNA, Italy/DETROIT, April 7 (Reuters) – Fiat SpA (FIA.MI) is poised to lift its stake in Chrysler to 30 percent within the next two months, bringing Fiat another step closer to gaining majority control of the U.S. automaker.
Sergio Marchionne, the chief executive of both Fiat and Chrysler, has said that one of his main goals this year is for Fiat to gain a majority share in Chrysler, which went through a U.S. government-funded bankruptcy in 2009.
Speaking to reporters in Italy on Thursday, Marchionne said Fiat could boost its stake in Chrysler in the next 30 to 60 days. He added that he would prefer Fiat obtain a majority share ahead of Chrysler’s planned initial public offering.
“It would be wise to wait till we were at 51 percent before proceeding with the IPO,” Marchionne told reporters.
Fiat was given management control and a 20 percent stake in Chrysler’s 2009 bailout deal. Under that arrangement, Fiat can raise its stake in Chrysler to 35 percent if it meets three tests designed to put the U.S. automaker on firmer financial footing. Fiat then has an option to buy an additional 16 percent.
Chrysler met the first test to develop a more fuel-efficient engine in January, giving Fiat a 25 percent stake in the company.
The U.S. automaker must also reach certain international sales and distribution targets. To cross that hurdle, Fiat must sell Chrysler cars and trucks through 90 percent of its dealers in Latin America.
Franchise laws in Brazil have posed a problem, but Chrysler is nearing a solution to that, which involves selling its products under the Fiat brand in Latin America, said Michael Manley, head of Chrysler’s international operations.
“For me, the most important thing is to achieve the expansion that we wanted to achieve in the marketplace, whether it’s products that are branded with Fiat or whether it’s our own products,” Manley told reporters at Chrysler’s Auburn Hills, Michigan, headquarters on Thursday.
However, when Marchionne was asked whether Chrysler cars would be sold as Fiats in Brazil, he said “no.” Representatives for Fiat and Chrysler could not immediately clarify the executives’ comments.
Brazil is a particularly strong spot for Fiat and it vies with Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE) as the market leader in the country. Marchionne said on Thursday he expects Brazilian auto sales to be well above 4 million by 2014.
A WAY TO THE IPO
Chrysler should be able to meet all three milestones before the end of 2011, paving the way for Fiat to exercise an option to obtain a majority stake, Marchionne said.