Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is all set to make its Wall Street debut with great fanfare today, as the carmaker shifts it centre of gravity away from Italy, after a decade of canny dealmaking and tough restructuring by CEO Sergio Marchionne, Reuters reported.
The world's seventh-largest auto group is seeking a US listing as it looks 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 however, had picked a difficult moment to woo US investors, with the US auto industry nearing its peak, the EU market making a difficult recovery from years of decline, and as weakness persisted in Latin America.
His business credentials would however, would not be questioned by many. The closing bell would be rung by Marchionne and FCA chairman John Elkann at the New York Stock Exchange today to mark the milestone for the 62-year-old chief executive who had revived one of Italy's top companies and also helped to rescue Chrysler from bankruptcy.
Half of the company's car volumes were in the US and he wanted it to be a US-listed company, Marchionne had said, after deliberately choosing to list on the day that celebrated the arrival of Christopher Columbus in America.
Meanwhile, Fiat Chrysler's debut on the New York Stock Exchange would give more US investors the chance to tap into the growing global market for cars and trucks, while also taking a chance on a debt-burdened automaker, Bloomberg reported.
The shares would move to the NYSE today from the Milan stock exchange and trade under the FCAU ticker after closing on 10 October at the equivalent of $8.76 a share. The new Fiat Chrysler, with ambitions to up vehicles sales by almost 60 per cent, would be legally registered in the Netherlands with headquarters in London.
The combination of Auburn Hills, Michigan-based Chrysler Group LLC with Turin, Italy-based Fiat SpA (F) formed the seventh-largest global automaker. It lacked a large presence in China and according to commentators; its debt load could hamper growth by limiting further merger options. The company however ranked No 4 in the lucrative US market, where it had increased sales for 4 1/2 years.
The company offered exotic sports cars by Ferrari and Maserati, efficient Fiats, and comfortable minivans and also had Ram pickups and the iconic Jeep sport-utility vehicle brand to line up against US rivals General Motors Co (GM) and Ford Motor Co.
''As a car company, as a global producer of vehicles, I think we're fully equivalent to the other Detroit two,'' chief executive officer Sergio Marchionne told reporters 10 October in metro Detroit. ''And the objective in coming to New York as a stock listing is really to get us evaluated and benchmarked against them.''