Fiat raising Chrysler stake

Associated Press + More

ROME (AP) — Italian carmaker Fiat says it is consolidating its ownership of Chrysler by exercising an option to purchase around 3.3 percent of Chrysler equity from a trust fund that manages health care for pensioners.

The announcement Tuesday said the purchase in the coming weeks will raise Fiat's stake in Chrysler to 61.8 percent.

VEBA, as the trust fund is called, is the only other entity with a stake in the company now that government loans to the Detroit automaker have been paid back.

Fiat Industrial Chairman Sergio Marchionne said Fiat would buy the remaining Chrysler equity from VEBA "at the right time, when conditions are created" but likely before 2016.

Marchionne, speaking at the Turin launch of Fiat's new 500L, warned that Italian workers were still at risk as long as the European market remained tight.

"If Europe's current capacity remains the same over the next 24-36 months, there's one too many plants in Italy," he warned, according to Italian news reports.

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