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Privately Held Chrysler to Report Quarterly Results

Privately-held Chrysler will report first-quarter results before the bell on Monday, and is expected to announce a small profit for the first time since leaving bankruptcy in June 2009.

Chrysler grille
AP
Chrysler grille

Any show of profit would likely hasten the timing of a planned Chrysler initial public offering. That would allow the U.S. government, a part owner of the company, to sell shares and recoup bailout money it gave Chrysler in June 2009.

The company plans to refinance and repaymore than $7 billion to the U.S. and Canadian governments by the end of June, details of which could be announced on Monday.

Repaying the loans from the U.S. and Canadian governments would mark a critical step for Chrysler as the automaker tries to distance itself from the controversial rescue by the Obama administration and rebuild consumer confidence in the brand.

The results are expected at roughly 6:35 a.m. ET.

A conference call set for 10 a..m. is expected to focus on what the company is doing to rebuild sales and may give more IPO guidance.

Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne predicts the company will report net income of between $200 million and $500 million this year as car and truck sales improve, although it's unclear when that will happen.

Chrysler has narrowed its losses dramatically since 2009, but ended 2010 with a loss of $652 million.

Marchionne also has said the company will be affected by partsshortages from supply companies with factories damaged in the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. That could hurt earnings in the second quarter or beyond.

Gasoline prices marched toward $4 per gallon during the quarter and Americans began shifting toward smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles. That trend could hurt since the company depends on larger vehicles such as the Grand Cherokee and Ram pickup for profits.

The company hopes that demand stays strong for its 200 sedan, a remake of the poor-selling Sebring.

Chrysler raised its sales by producing 16 new or overhauled models in the past year, including the popular Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV. U.S. sales through March rose 23 percent over the same period last year.

The Jeep brand led the company's sales increase in the first three months of year with a 34 percent gain. The Grand Cherokee, whose interior and gas mileage got a big upgrade, posted a 64-percent jump in sales in the quarter.

Marchionne, who divides his time between Italy and the United States, has been credited with reviving investor interest in Chrysler, an automaker that was left for dead just two years ago.

Chrysler emerged from a U.S.-funded bankruptcy under the management of Italian automaker Fiat. Fiat will be exercising an option to buy 16 percent of Chrysler for $1.27 billion during the quarter. Chrysler said it will use that cash to repay the loans.

The debt offering, term loans and the cash infusion from Fiat are all expected to occur concurrently, the company said.

"It's a very smart move on the part of Marchionne,'' said Dennis Virag, president of the Automotive Consulting Group. "What he's doing is converting high-cost debt to lower-cost debt and he's providing financing for future product development for ultimately taking the corporation public.''

Reuters and Associated Press contributed to this report.

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