Fiat Chrysler's Wall Street debut draws muted response

Mon Oct 13, 2014 6:07pm EDT
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By Agnieszka Flak and Jeffrey Dastin

MILAN/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Investors cautiously greeted the Wall Street debut on Monday of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), a move that shifts the carmaker's center of gravity away from Italy and caps a decade of canny dealmaking and tough restructuring by Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne.

"We're finally taking Chrysler back" to the U.S. stock market, Marchionne said Monday on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. "One of the Detroit Three is coming home."

Investors in the United States and Europe approached the new listing gingerly, as analysts expressed reservations about the company's prospects.

FCA shares opened at $9.00 in New York and rose as high as $9.55 before closing at $8.92, up 2.5 percent from a Friday close of $8.70 for the predecessor company Fiat SpA. In Milan, where FCA will keep a secondary listing, shares rose more than 4 percent during the session and closed up 1.2 percent.

Trading was muted, with about 5.8 million shares changing hands on the NYSE.

Marchionne rang the closing bell at the NYSE on Monday to mark the milestone for the 62-year-old CEO who revived one of Italy's top companies and helped rescue Chrysler along the way.

The world's seventh-largest auto group sought the U.S. listing to help 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.

Marchionne on Monday said FCA might raise debt funding to help finance its $60-billion five-year investment plan.   Continued...

Sergio Marchionne (R), chief executive officer of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and John Elkann, chairman of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, speak with the media before ringing the closing bell to celebrate the company's listing at the New York Stock Exchange, October 13, 2014.  REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz