Fiat Chrysler shareholders approve stock buyback

Michael Wayland
The Detroit News
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Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV shareholders on Thursday approved the automaker to buy back up to 10 percent of company shares over the next 18 months.

The approval does not entail any obligation for the automaker to actually buy the shares but is designed to provide additional flexibility, according to the company. It was part of the automaker’s shareholders meeting in Amsterdam, where shareholders also approved the automaker’s annual report and re-elected all current directors and executive directors, including CEO Sergio Marchionne and chairman John Elkann.

This year’s meeting was the first since Fiat SpA, including Chrysler Group LLC, merged into Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and was listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

“We are proud of how much FCA has achieved in its first year, but it is not time to celebrate yet because for us this is just the beginning,” Elkann wrote in a letter to shareholders in the automaker’s 2014 annual report. “We are working to bring many innovative new models to market that will not only meet the mobility needs of customers around the world, but also have enormous appeal.”

In May, the company unveiled an aggressive five-year business plan that aims to drive vehicle sales up 60 percent to 7 million by 2018 and increase net profit five-fold to around 5 billion euros by 2018.

For 2015, Fiat Chrysler expects shipments of 4.8 million-5 million cars and trucks, up from 4.6 million in 2014; net income of 1 billion-1.2 billion euro ($1.14 billion-$1.36 billion); and earnings before interest payments and income taxes (EBIT) in the range of 4.1 billion-4.5 billion euros ($4.6 billion-$5.1 billion); and net revenue of 108 billion euros ($122.7 billion).

The company’s stock [NYSE: FCAU] was down 1 percent to $16.32, as of 3:45 p.m.

Fiat SpA completed its acquisition of Chrysler in January 2014 after agreeing to pay $4.35 billion to the UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust, which owned 41.5 percent of Chrysler as part of the 2008-2009 auto bailout.

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