UPDATE 1-Fiat pursues settlement with VEBA over Chrysler

Wed Jul 10, 2013 8:37am EDT

GENEVA, July 10 (Reuters) - Fiat's chief executive said he was pursuing talks to reach an out-of-court settlement with Chrysler minority owner VEBA and that he was unaware that a court ruling on the stake's valuation would take place before the end of July.

"There is always a chance for an out-of-court settlement," Sergio Marchionne said on the sidelines of an SGS shareholders' meeting on Wednesday. He added that discussions with VEBA, a health-care trust affiliated with the United Autoworkers' Union, were ongoing.

Fiat owns 58.5 percent of Chrysler, while VEBA owns the rest. VEBA and Fiat are in court over the value of an additional stake that Fiat has the right to acquire according to the terms set in 2009 during Chrysler's exit from bankruptcy.

A Delaware court verdict to help value the stake was expected by the end of July, or 90 days from the last hearing on April 25, paving the way for Fiat to buy the rest of Chrysler.

"I spoke to counsel last night and they are not aware of a July 30 deadline," Marchionne said.

"Even if there's truth to the rumour it appears unlikely we can do anything before then," he added.

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