Chrysler to repay government loans on May 24

Wed May 18, 2011 8:09pm EDT
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By Deepa Seetharaman

DETROIT (Reuters) - Chrysler Group LLC plans to repay about $7.5 billion in U.S. and Canadian government loans on May 24 to strengthen the automaker's financial position, a person familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

The loans are part of Chrysler's 2009 bankruptcy restructuring when a massive drop in auto sales pushed the company to the brink of collapse. The automaker is now operated by Fiat SpA.

Chrysler will use $3.5 billion in bonds, a $2.5 billion term loan and about $1.3 billion in cash from Fiat to repay the loans, people familiar with the matter have previously said.

Chrysler will detail the terms of its $3.5 billion bond offering on Thursday, the day the new debt is slated to be priced, the source said.

Chrysler declined to comment. The source declined to be named because the plans are currently private.

In late April, the company announced it would repay the government loans by the end of June.

Sergio Marchionne, who is chief executive of Chrysler and Fiat, and Chrysler Chief Financial Officer Richard Palmer went on a road show this month to court potential lenders.

Repaying the loans would mark a critical step for Chrysler as the automaker tries to distance itself from the controversial rescue by the Obama administration and rebuild consumer confidence in the brand.   Continued...