Fiat looks for a $2.5 billion credit line to buy the rest of Chrysler stake, according to anonymous sources.
Fiat and Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne wants to refinance in April the revolving credit line which expires in2014, said the sources. Marchionne plans to buy as soon as possible the rest of the 41.5% stake in Chrysler currently owned by the UAW’s medical benefits trust and merge the two automakers to create a single global car maker.
Chrysler is of utmost importance for Fiat, which relies on the US automaker to sustain earnings after the loss in Europe widened last year to more than 700 million euro. In February the UAW confirmed that Fiat and the trust were negotiating a possible sales of the stake on behalf of the retirees.
“It’s not just about having cash for Chrysler,” Erich Hauser, a Credit Suisse analyst in London, said in an e-mail. “Fiat need to secure liquidity as it burns cash” in Europe.
A US court is expected to rule in July the final amount which Fiat has to pay the trust for part of the stake. Currently there is a 50-50 chance for Fiat to buy the trust’s stake or the trust to offer an initial public offering foe the stake.