CEO says Chrysler may never go public again

/ Source: The Associated Press

Chrysler Group LLC probably won't sell stock in an initial public offering this year, and an IPO may never happen, CEO Sergio Marchionne said Thursday.

On a conference call with reporters and industry analysts, Marchionne said no decision has been made on an IPO, which is unlikely to occur in 2012 "if it's an event at all."

Chrysler nearly went out of business in 2009 and had to be saved with a government bailout and a quick trip through bankruptcy protection that wiped out debts and helped cut the company's costs. In exchange for $12.5 billion to bail out Chrysler and its finance arm, the government took control of the company. It gave Italy's Fiat 20 percent of Chrysler for management expertise and small-car technology.

Eventually Fiat took control of 58.5 percent of the company, with a United Auto Workers union health care trust fund for retirees holding the remaining 41.5 percent. The trust fund eventually will sell its stake in order to pay health care bills for retirees and their spouses.

Marchionne also said Chrysler would not spend any of its cash this year to buy the trust fund's stake. But he said Fiat could exercise an option to buy the trust's stake.