Even as it prepares an IPO of its vaunted Ferrari brand, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is exploring the idea of selling off its Magneti Marelli parts division.
The move could generate as much as 3 billion Euros, or about $3.3 billion, in much-needed cash for the trans-Atlantic automakers, according to a report on the Reuters news service.
FCA is facing a flood of bills that will all come due in the near future, industry analysts have warned, something that could cause it serious problems. That’s one reason, apparently, that CEO Sergio Marchionne has openly expressed his desire to find a new partner for FCA.
Back in 2012, Marchionne raised the possibility of selling Magneti Marelli to raise cash to fund the merger of Fiat and Chrysler. He ultimately abandoned that move, at least for that moment. And though a spokesman for the carmaker told Reuters Magneti Marelli is not for sale, company sources paint a different picture.
They note that potential buyers have already approached Fiat Chrysler, one group putting a price tag of $2.7 billion on the operation. FCA turned that down, saying it wanted at least $3 billion for Magneti Marelli, one of Europe’s larger automotive parts manufacturers.
It supplies all major automakers in Europe, North America and Asia, with operations in 19 countries and 38,000 employees. Among other things, it produces lighting, engines, electronics and other vehicle components, last year generating 6.5 billion euros in revenue.
“Letters are piling up on Fiat’s table,” one of the sources told Reuters. “We expect Chief Executive (Sergio) Marchionne to react to these approaches sooner rather than later.”
(Fiat Chrysler takes top honors in total quality awards. For more, Click Here.)
Marchionne may have no choice. While FCA has seen significant growth in the U.S. since Fiat and Chrysler first linked up in 2009, things have gone far less smoothly in other markets. The carmaker is struggling to revive several of its Italian brands in North America, gain traction in Asia and revive its operations in Europe after a long recession.
It is spending heavily on several key brands, including Jeep and Alfa Romeo, and has laid out a five-year, 48 billion Euro investment plan that it is hard-pressed to fund.
(Click Here for details about what FCA plans to do about building the next Jeep Wrangler.)
The IPO of Ferrari is set to go off later this year. FCA will sell a 10% stake in the sports car maker and provide 80% of its shares to current FCA stockholders.
It’s not clear how soon any sale of Magneti Marelli might take place.
(To see more about FCA’s expected spinoff of Ferrari, Click Here.)
According to Reuters, it may be possible that individual units could be “carved out,” notably the Italian parts unit’s lighting operations.