Italy's Fiat becomes Chrysler's biggest stakeholder

DETROIT Thu Jul 21, 2011 12:36pm EDT

A U.S. flag flutters in the wind behind a Fiat logo at a car dealership in Alexandria, Virginia June 3, 2011. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

A U.S. flag flutters in the wind behind a Fiat logo at a car dealership in Alexandria, Virginia June 3, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

DETROIT (Reuters) - The U.S. and Canadian governments exited their investments in Chrysler Group LLC on Thursday, making Fiat SpA FIA.MI the majority stakeholder in the U.S. automaker.

The Italian automaker has the right to appoint a majority of the company's board of directors, Chrysler said in a regulatory filing on Thursday.

Fiat owns 55.3 percent of Chrysler, or 53.5 percent on a fully diluted basis, the company said in the filing.

The remaining shares in Chrysler are held by the health care trust affiliated with the United Auto Workers, known as the VEBA. Chrysler and the UAW are expected to begin talks to negotiate a new four-year contract Monday.

The United States and Canada took equity stakes in Chrysler during the U.S. automaker's bankruptcy restructuring in 2009. Fiat said in early June that it would buy the U.S. and Canadian stakes in Chrysler.

(Reporting by Deepa Seetharaman. Editing by Robert MacMillan)

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