By Agnieszka Flak
MILAN -- Fiat Chrysler Automobiles could sell up to $830 million worth of shares to boost its finances and increase trading in the stock after it lists on Wall Street next week, according to Reuters' calculations.
Fiat completed the full buyout of its U.S. unit Chrysler this year and is now incorporating all of its businesses under Dutch-registered Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, or FCA. A U.S. listing of the world's seventh-biggest auto group is scheduled for Monday.
Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne has said he could "get the machine rolling" by selling to U.S. investors the shares Fiat owns in itself, or so-called treasury stock.
%VIRTUAL-WSSCourseInline-947%It could also sell shares to offset those that were bought back -- and then canceled -- from investors who decided not to participate in the Italian carmaker's merger into FCA.
FCA may face some challenges in creating enough liquidity for its shares in the U.S. market, which will be complicated by its stock also being listed in Milan. However, Marchionne has repeatedly said Chrysler's high-profile name in the United States should help attract interest.
Fiat said Thursday it was left with around 53.9 million shares from investors who decided to sell out and not be part of the company's merger into FCA. The carmaker won't offer those shares on the market and will pay the cash exit price of 7.727 euros ($9.845) for each of those shares.
Under Italian law, those remaining shares have then to be canceled, but could be reissued, Marchionne has said.
"We will sell the equivalent of those shares on Wall Street," Marchionne said at the Paris auto show last week.
The carmaker owns another 34.6 million shares in treasury stock. The combined 88.5 million shares would be valued at 650 million euros ($830 million) at Thursday's opening price.
"Selling our treasury shares remains one of the objectives," Marchionne added, but said the timing for both sales would be decided after the evaluation of all risks. A roadshow to speak with U.S. investors is planned for November.
FCA's new board will meet at the end of October to look at all of the carmaker's capital-boosting options, including taking on more debt, a mandatory convertible bond and a possible capital increase.
Marchionne has repeatedly said a capital increase wasn't necessary to fund his ambitious growth plan.
Earlier Thursday, Fiat said existing shareholders had bought just over 6 million of the roughly 60 million shares offered directly to them from the stock bought back from dissenting shareholders.
By Agnieszka Flak