Fiat CEO: Merger With Chrysler 'Inevitable'

Fiat chief executive Sergio Marchionne said on Tuesday the Italian automaker will not require a capital increase if it decides to buy the 41.5% stake in Chrysler it does not already own.

Marchionne, who made the comments at a shareholder meeting, also suggested Fiat’s legal battle with VEBA, a United Auto Workers union retiree healthcare trust that owns the remaining stake in Chrysler, will be resolved by the second quarter.

Fiat has gradually increased its ownership of Chrysler to 58.5% and has the option to buy blocks of shares from VEBA. Fiat and VEBA went to court in a disagreement over the valuation of VEBA’s shares.

Marchionne added that the company will wait until a court decision before attempting to reach a deal with VEBA. He also has floated the possibility of an IPO, which could serve as a method of independently pricing VEBA’s shares and pave the way for Fiat to purchase a larger stake or complete ownership.

Also at the shareholder meeting, Marchionne said he expects 2013 to be a record year for Chrysler and a merger, which he deemed “inevitable,” has a good chance of happening next year.