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Fiat to up stake in Chrysler to 30% within two months

MILAN, Apr 8 – Italian auto giant Fiat is likely to increase its stake in Chrysler to 30 percent from 25 percent in the next month or two, chief executive Sergio Marchionne said in reports on Friday.

"I think that we are very close to the second five percent (increase) that should be determined within the next 30 to 60 days," Marchionne said Thursday in Bologna, according to several Italian newspapers.

The auto giant is likely to raise its stake again to 35 percent "before the end of the year, possibly even before then," he added.

In January, Fiat increased its stake in Chrysler to 25 percent from 20 percent as part of a deal signed after the iconic US auto brand emerged from bankruptcy in 2009.

The five-percent increase was made possible after Chrysler announced that it would begin production of new Fiat-designed Fully Integrated Robotized Engines (FIREs) at its plant in Dundee in the US state of Michigan.

According to the takeover terms, Fiat can raise its stake to 30 percent once Chrysler has reached a certain level of sales outside the US, Canada and Mexico.

Marchionne, who also heads up the US auto company, said in January that Fiat may boost its holding to 51 percent before a planned share offer by the Chrysler Group at the end of this year.

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