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Herald Tribune (US) / 2008-11-10 17:49:48


Food for thought.

Chrysler on ropes without merger or government funding
By Poornima Gupta and Kevin Krolicki
Reuters:Sunday, November 9, 2008

DETROIT: Chrysler is rapidly burning through cash and being pushed to prepare for a possible breakup if it cannot clinch a merger with General Motors or get the government financing it needs to ride out the economic crisis, people with knowledge of the situation say.


Without new capital or a wrenching restructuring, the automaker's ability to finance its operations from existing cash beyond the first half of 2009 is uncertain, said the people, who asked not to identified because they were not authorized to discuss Chrysler's performance.


Chrysler has had to pay out more than $100 million a month to support strained suppliers on top of a total of $200 million to support sales through dealers in August and September as it has suspended vehicle-lease financing, the people said last week.


The $11.7 billion the automaker said it had as of the end of June has declined substantially because of the company's deteriorating performance, marked by a 35 percent slide in October sales and increasing cash incentives, they said.


Chrysler and its owner, Cerberus Capital Management, declined to comment.


Cerberus and GM agreed last month on the broad terms of a merger of Chrysler's loss-making auto operations with those of its crosstown rival, but the deal fell through when the Bush administration reportedly rebuffed a request for about $10 billion to support it.


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That setback has put the focus on winning support for a broader federal rescue package for GM, Chrysler, Ford Motor and their suppliers, which the industry argues would save jobs and protect benefits for retirees.


But Chrysler has been pressured to consider a more drastic set of backup plans that could include selling off key business lines - including Jeep, considered its most valuable brand. It may also outsource its finance and human resources, the people said.


As a step toward that hard-landing scenario, the automaker is moving to split up its replacement parts business based on brand so that its Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge operations could be completely separate, one person briefed on that plan said.


That could make it easier to sell off an individual brand.


The Chrysler chief executive, Bob Nardelli, joined Rick Wagoner of GM and Alan Mulally of Ford on Thursday in meetings with Speaker Nancy Pelosi of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate majority leader, Harry Reed.


The three automakers lobbied the Democratic lawmakers, who increased their power in the election last week, for up to $50 billion in federal aid, the people said.


The push for aid has been accompanied by increasingly dire warnings from industry executives and their political allies about the cost of inaction and the risk of a failure that would cost tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs.


Chrysler, which is privately held, does not release financial information.


Executives, including Chrysler's vice chairman and president, Thomas LaSorda, once maintained that that lack of disclosure was a strength, but the same lack of transparency could now complicate the automaker's efforts to seek aid under a U.S. rescue package.



In addition, analysts have said Chrysler's ownership by Cerberus poses a political problem, because a federal rescue could be criticized as a bailout for a secretive Wall Street firm known for its political contacts.


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Cerberus is headed by a former Bush administration Treasury secretary, John Snow, and its board includes Dan Quayle, who was vice president under President George H.W. Bush.


クライスラー、合併または政府救済がなければ絶体絶命 - 今日の覚書、集めてみました

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