Luxury sports car maker Ferrari files for US IPO

Luxury sports car maker Ferrari files for US IPO
PHOTO: The Business Times file

MILAN/NEW YORK - Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has submitted a request to U.S. regulators for an initial public offering of its luxury sport car maker Ferrari in New York for the last quarter of the year.

FCA plans to spin off Ferrari, sell a 10 percent stake via the share sale and distribute the rest of its stake in the business to its shareholders.

The listing is meant to help FCA, which has one of the highest debt piles in the industry, pay for a 48 billion euro (S$72.5 billion) investment plan to boost sales by 60 percent to 7 million cars by 2018 and increase net profit five-fold.

FCA currently owns 90 percent of Ferrari, with the remaining 10 percent held by Piero Ferrari, vice chairman and son of the founder Enzo, who died in 1988.

UBS, BofA Merrill Lynch and Santander are underwriting the initial public offering (IPO), the company said in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday.

The filing did not say how many shares the company planned to sell or their expected price, specifying only that it would not list more than 10 percent of the business. The IPO is expected after mid-October.

FCA Chief Executive and Ferrari Chairman Sergio Marchionne believes Ferrari is worth at least 10 billion euros and should be priced as a fully-fledged luxury goods stock. Brokers' valuations range between 5 and 10 billion euros.

A successful IPO is particularly important as it might help Marchionne's search for a merger partner to deal with falling margins and high development costs, which has so far fallen on deaf ears.

Marchionne sent an e-mail earlier this year to his counterpart at US rival General Motors proposing a tie-up, but was rebuffed.

Some analysts say the divorce from Ferrari should make it easier to prepare FCA for a merger as it would give a clearer valuation of the company.

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