Fiat Eager to Buy Canada's Stake in Chrysler

Fiat currently holds a 30% stake in Chrysler but the reimbursement of Chrysler loans to the U.S. and Canadian governments has opened the way for the Italian company to increase its holding.

Fiat is interested in buying Canada's 1.7% stake in Chrysler, chief executive Sergio Marchionne said Monday while Canada's finance minister said he would welcome an offer.

"I did have a brief chat with the minister (to say) that we would be quite willing to purchase Canada's interest in Chrysler," Marchionne said at a Chrysler plant in Toronto.

But, he noted, "it is totally up to the discretion of the minister and the provincial government."

At the same event, Flaherty said: "We're certainly open to it. We would have to look at what the proposal is before making a decision, of course."

Fiat said Friday it planned to boost its stake in Chrysler to 57% by the end of 2011 as the Italian auto giant moves to consolidate its control of the historic Detroit-based brand.

Fiat announced in a statement its decision to exercise an option to buy an additional 6% stake in Chrysler from the U.S. Treasury. It said the price of the purchase would be agreed with the Treasury shortly.

Fiat currently holds a 30% stake in Chrysler but the reimbursement of Chrysler loans to the U.S. and Canadian governments has opened the way for the Italian company to increase its holding.

Flaherty said he was closely watching "what comes out of the process that is underway now with the United States Treasury."

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011

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