Sergio Marchionne close to inking refinancing deals for Fiat and Chrysler

Article by Anita Panait, on June 17, 2013

Sergio Marchionne, chief executive of both Fiat SpA and Chrysler Group LLC, is nearing to close refinancing deals for both carmakers ahead of a plan to combine them, people privy with the matter told Bloomberg. Marchionne will ink an agreement with nine banks this month to refinance EUR1.95 billion ($2.6 billion) in Fiat credit, two sources privy with the matter told Bloomberg.

Another source divulged that Marchionne is also seeking to cut the rate on a $2.95 billion term loan at Chrysler. Fiat, which currently holds a 58.5-percent stake in Chrysler Group, is planning to buy out the rest of the stakeholders to create a company large enough to challenge General Motors Co. and Volkswagen.

Fiat is holding talks with banks for up to $10 billion in funding for the deal and for refinancing the carmakers’ debt, sources familiar with the matter disclosed last month.

Gabriele Gambarova, an analyst at Banca Akros, remarked to Bloomberg that they see the new as a positive one as the acquisition of Chrysler minorities may materialize soon. Gambarova noted that reshaping Chrysler’s debt is important since current conditions prevent Fiat from gaining access to Chrysler cash.

The sources said the two refinancing deal may be signed as early as June 21, 2013. The pool of banks Fiat is talking with includes Barclays Plc, Citigroup Inc., UniCredit SpA and Mediobanca SpA. Marchionne also wants to raise funds to help pay for the acquisition of the 41.5-percent Chrysler stake currently held by the UAW's retiree health-care trust. UBS said this week that Fiat may shell out $4.5 billion to acquire the stake. [source: automotive news - sub. required]

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