Fiat CEO wants to do Chrysler buyout "the faster...the better"

MILAN Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:04pm EST

MILAN Jan 30 (Reuters) - Fiat Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne said the Italian automaker is open to an initial public offering of a stake in its U.S. unit Chrysler, adding "the faster we do it, the better it is."

"It's up to them," he said, referring to Chrysler's minority owner, a United Auto Workers union retiree healthcare trust called VEBA.

VEBA demanded that Chrysler register 16.6 percent of company shares with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this month.

The United Auto Workers union is keen to see Chrysler hold an IPO, vice president and director General Holiefield told Reuters in a recent interview.

"I would love to see Chrysler go public again," he said. "I think the company is on its way to being one of the most solid companies in the world."

The trust has the right to make the demand because of the 2009 agreement that brought Chrysler out of bankruptcy and left Fiat as part-owner.

Marchionne said Fiat does not plan to make any asset sales to fund the purchase. But he did not rule them out.

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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