Fiat could sell parts unit for cash to buy Chrysler -Marchionne

NEW YORK Fri Dec 14, 2012 12:24pm EST

NEW YORK Dec 14 (Reuters) - Fiat SpA has the option of selling its components unit Magneti Marelli to get additional cash for purchasing more of Chrysler Group LLC, Sergio Marchionne, chief executive of Fiat and Chrysler, said on Friday.

At a brief, impromptu news conference, Marchionne said Fiat has no need to tap the debt or equity markets to raise cash to purchase remaining Chrysler shares. Fiat owns 58.5 percent of the No. 3 U.S. automaker.

While Fiat has ample cash on hand, he added, it could raise additional money if needed by selling assets, citing Magneti Marelli, which had revenue of 5.8 billion euros ($7.6 billion)last year, as an operation that could be sold.

In the current weak economic environment, Marchionne said, "the availability of cash is crucial. It's better to be safe than sorry."

Magneti Marelli employs about 35,000 people worldwide. The unit designs and produces automotive components including lighting, electronics, suspension and exhaust.