Marchionne Said Fiat Doesn’t Need Access to Chrysler’s Money image

Marchionne said that Fiat does not need to access Chrysler’s cash, which currently has limits on its use.

“There will have to be no covenants on the debt structure that exists within Chrysler, and I think we have to get over 80 percent of Chrysler” ownership for Fiat, CEO Sergio Marchionne told reporters yesterday at a press conference in Detroit. “I don’t think Fiat needs it.”

Fiat currently owns 58.5% of Chrysler and it plans to acquire the entire company’s stake. Unfortunately this won’t be able until 2014 or 2015 as Fiat announced it will now focus on the Italian automaker’s finance and profit in the loss-making Europe, postponing the plan to merge with the US automaker.

The Italian automaker is currently in a court dispute with the United Auto Workers’ retiree health-care trust, which is Chrysler’s minority shareholder. The two companies cannot agree on a price for a 3.3% stake in Chrysler. Fiat offered to pay $139.7 million, while the health-care trust requested $342 million. The court is expected to rule on the matter by the end of this year.

“We read the agreement in a way; they read it in another,” Marchionne said yesterday. “Let the judge decide.”