A public share offering for Chrysler Group LLC is more likely to occur in 2012 than this year because the automaker needs a longer track record of performance, the company's chief executive said on Friday.
Sergio Marchionne, who is also the CEO of Italian automaker Fiat SpA, added that Chrysler is looking for the equity markets to improve if it eventually goes ahead with an initial public offering.
"I see no benefit in a 2011 IPO," Marchionne told reporters after an appearance by President Barack Obama at a Chrysler plant in Toledo, Ohio.
"A lot of it depends on how receptive the markets are and performance and what could be raised," he said. "My gut would suggest no earlier than 2012."
Last year, Marchionne said an IPO was possible for the second half of 2011, but in recent months he has suggested the time frame could change.
Marchionne's statement on Friday is the clearest sign yet that an IPO would be pushed back.
An IPO of Chrysler would allow the VEBA, a health care trust affiliated with the United Auto Workers union, to cash out of its position in the company.
The VEBA, which currently owns 45.7 per cent of Chrysler, is in no rush to sell and is looking to get the best possible return, two sources familiar with the matter said.
Marchionne said he had not yet started talks with the officials of the VEBA.
"They're not an investment fund, they need to set aside obligations for their retirees," Marchionne said. "I expect to work with them to find a way to allow them to exit at the right time. But neither Chrysler nor Fiat is going to get pushed into a position. They will do it when it's ready."
As part of the Treasury deal, Fiat will pay $75 million for Treasury's option to buy all shares held by the VEBA trust.
Marchionne said a share offering would still be possible if Fiat were to buy that interest but that Chrysler did not need to go public if Fiat bought the VEBA and Canada stakes.