Chrysler working on loan refinancing: Fiat CEO

FLORENCE, Italy Thu Jun 13, 2013 8:50am EDT

Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne poses after the presentation of the new LaFerrari hybrid car on the Ferrari stand during the first media day of the 83rd Geneva Car Show at the Palexpo Arena in Geneva March 5, 2013. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne poses after the presentation of the new LaFerrari hybrid car on the Ferrari stand during the first media day of the 83rd Geneva Car Show at the Palexpo Arena in Geneva March 5, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Denis Balibouse

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FLORENCE, Italy (Reuters) - Italian carmaker Fiat SpA's (FIA.MI) U.S. unit Chrysler is still working on a $3 billion loan refinancing, Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne said on Thursday, confirming what sources had earlier told Reuters.

On June 12 Reuters reported that Chrysler UAWREC.UL had set terms on a loan refinancing that could lower its borrowing costs and make it possible for Fiat to access Chrysler's cash flow.

Fiat owns 58.5 percent of Chrysler and wants to buy up the rest. Talks with the seller, an autoworkers' union-affiliated healthcare trust, are continuing, Marchionne said on Thursday.

Asked for a progress report on the Chrysler loan talks, Marchionne said: "The transaction has not yet been concluded."

The completion of an agreement is expected on June 21, Reuters had reported, citing banking sources.

Fiat aims to complete the transaction, merge the two carmakers into one group, then list the new company on the New York Stock Exchange by 2014, it has said.

Marchionne already runs the two automakers as a single group. But a full merger with Chrysler is seen increasing the group's value, because the combined automaker would have more cash to invest in expensive new technology like hybrid engines.

It needs these advancements to remain in the top league of the world's automakers, alongside the likes of Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) and Toyota (7203.T), analysts say.

(Reporting by Stefano Rebaudo; Writing by Jennifer Clark; Editing by David Holmes)

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