Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is looking to its Italian luxury sports car manufacturer Ferrari for a much-needed capital raise to fund an ambitious $61 billion, five-year business plan that includes making Jeeps for the first time outside of the United States. FCA said Wednesday that it would spin off Ferrari in a U.S. public offering of 10 percent of its outstanding shares sometime next year.
“As we move forward to secure the 2014-2018 business plan and work toward maximizing the value of our businesses to our shareholders, it is proper that we pursue separate paths for FCA and Ferrari,” FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne announced in a public statement. Eighty percent of Ferrari will go to current FCA shareholders, including Fiat’s founding Agnelli family. The other 10 percent of the company will stay with Piero Ferrari, the son of the company’s founder, Enzo.
Ferrari was part of Fiat, which merged with Chrysler and listed on the New York Stock Exchange earlier this month. The merger gives Marchionne access to Chrysler’s money via the strength of the Jeep, Dodge and Ram brands. Fiat has been struggling for years, impacted heavily by its exposure to the struggling European auto market.
Shedding Ferrari will lower FCA’s brand load to seven: Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram, Alfa Romeo, Fiat and Maserati. Each brand will see new introductions over the next three years, including a new Chrysler 100 compact sedan, a high-performance Dodge Dart, a new Jeep Grand Wagoneer, a new Ram 1500 pickup truck, a Fiat crossover and a Maserati SUV. FCA wants to double Jeep sales and take the brand global by 2018.
“To some degree, this is spinning off one of FCA’s family jewels,” Ian Fletcher, senior autos analyst at HIS Automotive, an industry analytics firm, said in an email. “But at the same time Ferrari has been a self-sustaining, financially independent unit within Fiat and now FCA, and this seems unlikely to change given the most recent results.”
On Wednesday FCA announced Ferrari made $844.7 million in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, up from $681 million in the same quarter the previous year. It made $113.4 million before interest and taxes, up slightly from $112.3 million in the previous year. Ferrari delivered 1,612 vehicles in the quarter, up from 1,499, as demand for the high-end luxury car jumped 81 percent in the Asia-Pacific region, led by demand in China.
FCA will also issue $2.5 billion in convertible bonds as part of its plan to raise capital for the company’s business plan.