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Fiatin GM ja Opel kaupat: Imperiumin rakentamista ilman käsirahaa
23.05.2009, Virtanen Matti H.E.


Fiatin GM ja Opel kaupat: Imperiumin rakentamista ilman käsirahaa

Kun kuluttajien on maksettava käteistä rahaa ostaakseen auton, Fiat suunnittelee autoimperiumin rakentamista ilman että se panee pöytään penniäkään. Toimiiko tämä?

Fiatin toimitusjohtaja Sergio Marchionne ei piilottele kunnianhimoaan. Italialainen autonvalmistaja on neuvottelemassa kahta kauppaa, 20 %:n ostoa Chrysleristä ja Opel/Vauxhal:in Euroopan toimintojen hankkimista General Motorsilta. Jos hän pystyy saamaan aikaan molemmat, hän loisi maailman toiseksi suurimman auton valmistajan, jolla olisi 106 miljardin US Dollarin myynti ja komea mallisto Dodge Ram pickupeista Saab urheiluautoihin ja Fiat 500:seen (Alfa Romeoista puhumattakaan! - artikkelin kääntäjän kommentti).

Vielä hämmästyttävämpää on että kyseiset trans-Atlanttiset kaupat eivät tämän hetkisen käsityksen mukaan vaadi lainkaan käteistä Fiatilta. Italialainen autonvalmistaja on ostamassa Chrylerista osuutta vaihtokauppana polttoainetta säästävään teknologiaan. Myöskään Saksan hallituksen kanssa käynnissä olevat keskustelut eivät sisällä minkäänlaista sitoumusta käteismaksusta.

Ei varmaankaan tule parempaa aikaa tehdä kauppa. 39 miljardin US Dollarin vastaavat, jotka Chrysler listasi konkurssihakemuksessaan on vain 15% vuoden 2005 korkeimmasta arvosta 274 miljardia Dollaria. ”Fiatin teknologia ei varmasti olisi näin korkeassa arvossa milloinkaan muulloin,” sanoi Rebecca Lindal, joka on talous ja finanssianalyysiin keskittyvän IHS Global Insight:in autoryhmän johtaja. ”Fiat on laajentumassa silloin kun se voi.”

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Not only did Chrysler’s assets go down to a small fraction, it was under a mounting pressure to get a buyer before the April 30 deadline. Such sense of emergency gave Fiat an upper hand in negotiating. And Fiat was pushing the limit. Normally, a bidder has to put down a 10% deposit to be qualified to bid. In this case, Fiat would have needed nearly $4 billion. It put down zero. “This is very unusual,” said Doug Bernstein, practice group leader of Banking, Bankruptcy & Creditors Rights of Plunkett Cooney. “That says how much the government really wants the deal to go through.”
In the past 18 months, Chrysler has exhausted all the possible suitors. Nissan was the most promising, but no official offer was made. As the April 30 deadline approaching, Chrysler was left with the last possible chance for survival.
In an ideal world, either Chrysler or GM would like to see some cash, “but right now it’s not an ideal world. Fiat simply has no cash to offer,” Lindland said. Fiat’s own business outlook is looking weak. Recently, Moody’s downgraded Fiat’s credit rating to Ba1, the highest rating in junk territory, and the outlook is negative, given the company’s gloomy 2008 results.
Marchionne’s bold moves might be what the ailing industry needs right now. Auto makers with overcapacity need to be consolidated, Marchionne said in a recent news conference. But Bernstein’s question is: if it was such a great deal, why weren’t there any other auto makers jumping up to compete? That might tell you something.
“But even though they look good on paper, I am not sure if it will be a successful merger,” Lindland said. Although both said it was hard to know how much Fiat needs to save Chrysler, “for it to be profitable, many components have to fall into place,” Lindland said.
The company has to cut costs in multiple ways: First, it is betting it will be able to cut part costs by using greater scale. It also expects to cut down the variety of models and consolidate production, focusing around small cars that are Fiat’s forte.
Of course, American consumers will have to buy into its small-car idea. The compact-car technology that saved Fiat from its own bankruptcy a few years ago will be put to the test in a U.S. market whose consumers are historically big-car fans.
In the long term, uncertainties abound. “Even if the merger will turn into profit, it is not going to be easy and it won’t happen any time soon. But if it works, it will prove Marchionne is a brilliant businessman,” Lindland said. “In a short term, we will have to see whether Fiat is able to pull Chrysler out of bankruptcy.”
Now that is something that will take some cash.

22.5.2009
Wall Street Journal Blogs
By Jodi Xu

Käännös: Matti Virtanen




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