Italian carmaker Fiat SpA (BIT:F) said Monday that Chrysler Group LLC won’t go public this year. However, Chrysler will keep working on the IPO, and may list its shares in the first quarter next year. Fiat SpA (BIT:F) said the IPO will depend on market conditions and other considerations. It would create further uncertainty over the Alfa Romeo maker’s plans to acquire the remaining stake in its U.S. unit. The Italian company owns a 58.5% stake in the Ram pick-up maker. VEBA, a retirees’ healthcare trust of the United Auto Workers union, holds the remaining 41.5% stake.
Fiat in deeper trouble
Fiat SpA (BIT:F) CEO Sergio Marchionne has been pressing to buy VEBA’s stake. But the two parties haven’t agreed on pricing. The United Auto Workers union has yet to decide whether to sell its holdings through an IPO or sell them directly to the Turin, Italy-based company. Marchionne is the chief executive of both companies. He wants to purchase VEBA’s stake and combine the two companies. Ailing Fiat SpA (BIT:F) can’t use Chrysler’s cash reserves until the companies are merged.
The public offering would consist of shares owned by VEBA, that are currently valued at $5.6 billion, according to the Associated Press. The pricing battle between Fiat SpA (BIT:F) and UAW has reached court, and the trial will start next September. Investors were expecting that VEBA’s plan to sell part of its stake in an IPO would narrow the difference between two parties. But the delay in IPO indicates that a deal is not around the corner. The Auburn Hills, Michigan-based company filed the IPO paperwork in September.
Chrysler is the cash cow for Fiat
The Italian company acquired a majority stake in Chrysler in 2009 after the U.S. company was bailed out by the government. Since then, it has been the key source of money for Fiat SpA (BIT:F). While, the Italian company is hurt by falling demand in Europe, Chrysler’s sales have soared more than 50% since 2009 in North America. For the latest quarter, Chrysler earned $464 million, while Fiat SpA (BIT:F)’s Q3 earnings stood at $260 million. Excluding profits from Chrysler, it would have incurred a loss of $340 million.
Fiat SpA (BIT:F) shares plunged 4.29% to $7.80 at 10:57 AM EST.