Chrysler Identifies Assets For Sale

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (Reuters) – Chrysler LLC has identified over $1 billion in non-earning assets for potential sale, Tom LaSorda, the automaker's president, said on Wednesday.

“One advantage of private ownership is that we can sell non-earning assets to generate cash,” he said in prepared remarks to the Center for Automotive Research Management conference. “To date, we have identified over $1 billion in assets, and we are more than half way to achieving that goal.”

The automaker is meeting or exceeding its financial targets, LaSorda said.

He also said Chrysler will invest about $1.8 billion in new vehicle programs and to expand its Jefferson North assembly plant in Detroit.

The investment will keep 400 jobs in Michigan, he added.

Chrysler, acquired by private equity group Cerberus Capital Management a year ago, ended June with $11.7 billion in cash and had earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of $1.1 billion in the first half of the year.

Like its larger competitors General Motors Corp (GM.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and Ford Motor Co (F.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), Chrysler has faced scrutiny over its cash position and its ability to ride out a downturn in U.S. auto sales that many analysts expect to stretch through 2009. (Reporting by Poornima Gupta, editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Derek Caney)