MILAN, Italy (Reuters) -- Fiat S.p.A. denied a report by broker Sanford C. Bernstein that CEO Sergio Marchionne had made comments discouraging investors from taking part in Chrysler Group's initial public offering.
In a statement on Thursday, Fiat said the Bernstein report misrepresented the presentation CEO Sergio Marchionne gave at a Fiat investor meeting.
"The report mischaracterizes Mr. Marchionne's presentation, which was made at a Fiat investor meeting and does not accurately record his comments," Fiat said in a statement without giving details of Marchionne's comments.
Fiat also said that neither Fiat nor Chrysler nor any of its respective managers had authorized any articles or recommendations with respect to any investment in Chrysler.
Marchionne is also CEO of Chrysler.
Fiat, which controls 58.5 percent of Chrysler, wants to own it all but has not been able to agree on a price with the UAW, which owns the rest via a retiree health care trust known as a VEBA. In September Chrysler filed papers to go public.
Marchionne wants to avoid an IPO by having Fiat purchase all shares of Chrysler from the trust -- currently a 41.5 percent stake.
The trust, known as a voluntary employees beneficiary association, was given a stake in Chrysler as part of the automaker's U.S. bailout in 2009.
A provision in the bankruptcy deal allows the VEBA to force Chrysler to go public in order to achieve the highest possible payout.
Marchionne said Chrysler has a financially attractive future, including forecasts for a 7 percent to 8 percent profit margin by 2015, according to a Bernstein Research note published Tuesday.
But he "did not believe investing via this partial IPO would be the most attractive route for investors," Bernstein analyst Max Warburton wrote of Marchionne's comments at a Bernstein Research investors conference last week in London.
Warburton added that Marchionne implied that investing in Fiat or in the joint Fiat-Chrysler company later would be a better bet.
Fiat has balked at the $5 billion being demanded by the health care trust for its stake in the company. As a result, the trust, exercised the right to call for an IPO, putting pressure on Fiat to make a deal.
On Wednesday, neither Chrysler nor the VEBA commented on the report. Bernstein was not available for comment.
Marchionne said he will speak positively about Chrysler during any "road show" presentations to investors leading up to an IPO as he did at the Bernstein conference, Warburton wrote.
The research paper issued by Bernstein is titled, "Chrysler - The IPO That Will Not Happen."
Warburton, as have other analysts previously, said he believed an IPO was unlikely because Fiat and the VEBA healthcare trust would come to an agreement before such a public offering was made.
"Fiat's purchase of Chrysler will require further negotiation, but ultimately we expect it to complete," Warburton wrote. "The situation is fascinating but ultimately we believe it is in both sides' interests to do a deal."