MILAN – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced Wednesday it will spin off sports car maker Ferrari into a separate company, a move to unlock the luxury brand’s value and distinguish it from its mass-market parent.
The spinoff aims to raise money to support the newly merged carmaker’s plans to invest $61 billion over five years to compete with global giants Toyota and Volkswagen. Shares in Fiat Chrysler soared on the news.
“I think we are doing the right thing by giving Ferrari a proper, unique place in the capital markets to be evaluated and valued as a luxury automaker,” Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne told an analyst conference call.
Fiat Chrysler, which owns 90 percent of Ferrari, will sell 10 percent of its shares in a public offering and distribute the remaining 90 percent of its holding to its own shareholders.
Marchionne refused to speculate on Ferrari’s value, saying only “I think we will be pleasantly surprised.”
Investors seemed to agree. Shares in Fiat Chrysler jumped 11.93 percent to $10.88 on the New York Stock Exchange.
News of the spinoff was coupled with an announcement that Fiat Chrysler will issue $2.5 billion in convertible bonds to help fund its business plan.
The board intends to complete the spinoff during 2015 and said shares would be listed in the United States, with a possible double listing in Europe, as Fiat Chrysler has done.
A Ferrari spinoff had long been speculated by industry experts as Marchionne seeks to maximize values from the group’s brands.
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