The senior lenders to Chrysler are planning to make a counteroffer to the Treasury Department this week, pushing back on a debt-reduction plan they say is too coercive, people briefed on the matter said Monday.
The Treasury Department has asked these lenders, which consist of banks and hedge funds, to reduce their $6.9 billion in debt holdings to about $1 billion. The goal is to help preserve Chrysler’s financial viability as it pursues a merger with Fiat, the Italian carmaker.
The banks contend the Treasury’s plan offers no concessions in exchange for a nearly 86 percent reduction in the value of their holdings. A steering committee of eight of these firms is now deciding whether to ask for equity in a combined Chrysler-Fiat, one of these people said.
The Obama administration has given Chrysler until April 30 to reach a deal with Fiat. Its auto task force is preparing for the possibility the company will not succeed and be forced into bankruptcy protection and, potentially, liquidation.