Fiat raises Chrysler stake as US carmaker plans IPO

ITALY’S Fiat has lifted its stake in Chrysler to 25 per cent as chief executive Sergio Marchionne prepares for an upcoming round of meetings to refinance Chrysler’s debt and ready an initial public offering (IPO).

Fiat said in a statement yesterday that it had raised its ownership in Chrysler to 25 per cent from 20 per cent at no financial cost under the terms of a deal that was negotiated with the US Treasury as part of Chrysler’s bailout.

The announcement came as Chrysler showed off new and revamped vehicles at the Detroit auto show, including an all-new Chrysler 300 sedan and a remodelled version of the much-criticised Jeep Compass.

The success of the new Chrysler line-up is critical to improving both consumer and investor perceptions of the US carmaker, which filed for a US government-funded bankruptcy in 2009 and is planning an IPO.

“We’ve attacked the bulk of the product portfolio,” said Marchionne. “What we’ve got now is a commercially viable set of products in the marketplace.”