Fiat Chrysler crowns merger with Wall Street debut

Sun Oct 12, 2014 6:42am EDT
 
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By Agnieszka Flak

MILAN (Reuters) - Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) makes its Wall Street debut to great fanfare on Monday, shifting the carmaker's center of gravity away from Italy and capping a decade of canny dealmaking and tough restructuring by CEO Sergio Marchionne.

The world's seventh-largest auto group has sought the U.S. listing to help to establish itself as a leading global player through access to the world's biggest equity market and the cheaper, more reliable source of funding it ultimately offers.

But Marchionne has picked a difficult moment to woo U.S. investors. The American auto industry is nearing its peak, the European market's recovery from years of decline is proving elusive and weakness persists in Latin America.

Few, however, would question his business credentials. Marchionne and FCA Chairman John Elkann will ring the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Monday to mark the milestone for the 62-year-old chief executive who has revived one of Italy's top companies and helped to rescue Chrysler from bankruptcy along the way.

"Half of our car volumes are in the United States. I want this to be a U.S.-listed company," Marchionne has said, having deliberately chosen to list on the day that celebrates Christopher Columbus's arrival in America.

Fiat took management control of Chrysler in 2009 after the American carmaker emerged from government-sponsored bankruptcy and completed its buyout of the company this year. It is now combining all of its businesses under Dutch-registered FCA, which will have a British financial domicile and small London headquarters, with operations centers in Turin and Detroit.

AMBITIOUS AGENDA   Continued...

 
Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne talks to the media during the FCA Investors Day at the Chrysler World Headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan May 6, 2014. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook