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Tuesday, 4 November, 2008 2:47 AM

Grant Thornton Says a GM and Chrysler Transaction is the Best Alternative to Preserve Jobs and Cash

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

The Renaissance Center is home of the General Motors World Headquarters.

 

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. -- Grant Thornton LLP's Corporate Advisory and Restructuring Services Group announces the immediate release of The State of Chrysler report, which thoroughly examines the company, including its operations, product development, future outlook, strategic alternatives and the hidden value of a potential transaction, including the widely-rumored marriage of General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC.

"Chrysler as we know it will cease to exist very soon," said Kimberly Rodriguez, principal of Grant Thornton's automotive practice. "At this point, there are very few options available to either company. We believe a transaction between GM and Chrysler is likely because it would be the most expedient way to protect cash and jobs at both companies. If one or the other company were to fail, we would face a much bigger calamity -- the collapse of the North American supply base and the potential endangerment of all three Detroit automakers and businesses that depend on them."

The report finds that under a GM/Chrysler transaction, Cerberus Capital Management would likely receive half of GMAC, GM's financing arm, and keep a percentage of the merged manufacturing entity. There is a strong possibility that the federal government and current company stakeholders will participate in a transaction, with the goal of completing a deal before the presidential election.

More specifically, Grant Thornton's Automotive Advisory experts note the following possible outcomes under a GM/Chrysler transaction:

-- Chrysler has 26 model offerings, of which Grant Thornton considers only seven to be core and likely to be retained (56 percent of sales). These include the Dodge Ram pickup truck, core Jeep-brand vehicles and the company's minivans.

-- Half of Chrysler's 14 existing manufacturing facilities likely would close. Three already have been announced for closure. A plant reduction of this magnitude would equate to about 12,000 production jobs lost plus another 12,000 administrative positions. Of this amount, a reduction in force of 5,000 has already been announced.

-- Hundreds of supplier companies would be impacted, which could result in the loss of an additional 50,000 jobs.

-- Dealer consolidation efforts will intensify. Chrysler and GM combined have 22,000 franchises -- half of the total in the United States. However, the combined market share of the merged companies would only be about one-third of today's significantly smaller market for new vehicles.

"Despite the significant number of families that will be impacted, the benefits of combining the two companies are both structural and strategic," Rodriguez said. "From an economic and political standpoint, the new company will likely be viewed as 'too big to fail.'"

Other benefits include:

-- GM is strong in international markets and is increasingly leveraging global vehicle architectures for scale and efficiency. It is a leader in plug-in hybrid technology with the Chevrolet Volt. To this product mix, Chrysler brings seven key models that have been recently redesigned or will be by 2010.

-- The new company will be a much more powerful force in the full-size pickup truck segment, displacing Ford as the truck leader.

-- The combined company will have more liquid assets, thanks to the cash on Chrysler's balance sheet.

-- Significant cost-reduction opportunities will be possible, especially in sales, marketing and administrative functions. Overlapping assets can be sold.

Rodriquez concludes, "On the whole, the combination of GM and Chrysler would certainly create yet another wild ride on the auto industry rollercoaster, where cash and platform position determine the winners and losers."

Grant Thornton's Corporate Advisory and Restructuring Services launched its U.S. practice in 2006 and has grown to include more than 85 professionals in eight offices, serving more than three dozen clients. The Corporate Advisory and Restructuring Services team works with underperforming and transitional companies and their stakeholders. They quickly evaluate the financial and operational issues adversely affecting performance, assess the strategic alternatives and develop and execute comprehensive plans to address the challenges. Grant Thornton's world-class advisory team delivers in-depth evaluations and balanced insight through a comprehensive, holistic approach.

About Grant Thornton LLP

The people in the independent firms of Grant Thornton International Ltd provide personalized attention and the highest quality service to public and private clients in more than 100 countries. Grant Thornton LLP is the U.S. member firm of Grant Thornton International Ltd, one of the six global audit, tax and advisory organizations. Grant Thornton International Ltd and its member firms are not a worldwide partnership, as each member firm is a separate and distinct legal entity.

In the U.S., visit Grant Thornton LLP at http://www.grantthornton.com/ .

Source: Grant Thornton LLP

 

 

 

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