MILAN — Fiat Chrysler Automobiles plans to spin off sports car maker Ferrari into a separate company, a way to unlock value in the luxury brand and distinguish it from its mass-market parent.
The company said Wednesday that spinning off Ferrari was part of a plan to raise capital to support the new merged carmakers' expansion plans. Fiat Chrysler's five-year plan calls for increasing net income by five times by 2018.
Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said in a statement that it was "proper that we pursue separate paths for FCA and Ferrari" following the completion of the merger of Chrysler and Fiat with a listing on the New York Stock Exchange earlier this month.
Fiat Chrysler will sell 10 percent of Ferrari's shares in a public offering, with the remaining 90 percent distributed to its own shareholders. The board intends to complete the move during 2015, and said shares would be listed in the United States and with a possible double listing in Europe.
A Ferrari spinoff had long been speculated by industry experts as Marchionne seeks to maximize values from the group's various brands. However, Fiat Chrysler's other luxury brands, including Alfa Romeo and Maserati, will remain part of the parent company.
The decision to break off Ferrari comes about two months after an awkward management transition at Ferrari that saw the longtime chairman Luca di Montezemolo resign after a public spat over strategy with Marchionne, who has taken over as chairman of Ferrari.
Marchionne has been vocal in his displeasure over Ferrari's long absence from the Formula One car racing winner's circle, and has pledged to get the team back to the top. The last time it won the driver's championship was in 2007.
Also Wednesday, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. announced it returned to a profit in the third quarter thanks to a good performance by its luxury brands and gains in North America and Asia.
It reported a net profit of 174 million euros ($221 million) for the three months ending Sept. 30. That compares with a loss of 15 million euros in the same period last year.
Revenues rose 14 percent to 23.5 billion euros. Luxury brand sales increased 35 percent, North America saw a 20 percent gain and Asia was up 30 percent. Latin American revenues dropped 12 percent in a weak market.
Deliveries rose 9.7 percent to 1.1 million vehicles.