Fiat can push Chrysler stake to more than 70% image

Italian automaker Fiat SpA could own more than 70 percent of Chrysler Group within a year once it repays its government loans and exercises other options.

Fiat may buy the U.S. Treasury’s remaining stake in the 12 months after it repays debts to the government, Chrysler said today in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Previously, Marchionne had said it would refinance its debt and pay off its $7.5 billion in government loans by the end of the second quarter, or June 30. Reuters, on Friday, said Chrysler could complete the refinancing by May 24, according to Chrysler’s offering memorandum sent to banks.
Chrysler emerged from bankruptcy June 10, 2009.

Analysts say once Chrysler pays the governments back their money, the company’s interest rates will decline, and Italian automaker Fiat, which Marchionne is also CEO of, can increase its stake in the company.

The final goal, to build a vehicle that gets 40 mpg in the U.S., should be met this year, Sergio Marchionne, chief executive officer of Chrysler and Fiat, has said.