Chrysler to close refinancing deal by May 24: report

Reuters

MILAN (Reuters) - U.S. carmaker Chrysler is planning to close a deal to refinance $7.5 billion of government debt by May 24, according to details of Chrysler's offering memorandum to the banks published on Thursday by newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore.

The restructuring of debt Chrysler owns to the U.S. and Canadian governments will let it save $200 million a year, chief executive Sergio Marchionne told a gathering of bankers in New York, according to several Italian newspapers.

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Last year Chrysler paid $1.2 billion in interest on bailout money received from the governments in 2009.

The deal will comprise a credit line for $1.5 billion, eight- and 10-year bonds worth $2.5 billion and $3.5 billion of guaranteed six-year notes aimed at institutional investors, Il Sole 24 Ore said, citing the Chrysler document.

The Big Three U.S. automaker plans to close the deal by May 24, according to the document.

The debt repayment paves the way for Italian group Fiat to hike its 30 percent stake in Chrysler by another 16 percent.

Fiat, Italy's biggest carmaker and part of the country's top industrial group, aims to add another 5 percent before the end of 2011 to acquire full control of Chrysler.

Chrysler Group is in no rush to go public, Marchionne, who is also chief executive of Fiat, said on Wednesday, adding the U.S. automaker "technically" did not need to raise equity.

Fiat shares were up 1.1 percent at 7.255 euros at 0732 GMT, twice the rise in the STOXX Europe 600 autos index.

(Writing by Lisa Jucca; Editing by Dan Lalor)

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