Chrysler CEO, Canada talk about buying back shares

The chief executive officer of Chrysler and Fiat said Monday he and Canadian authorities have begun talking about buying Canada’s 1.7 percent ownership in Chrysler.

The Canadian federal government and provincial Ontario governments received 1.7 percent of Chrysler two years ago as part of a bailout that also provided $1.7 billion in loans to help the Detroit company survive.

Chrysler, already controlled by Fiat, recently paid back the last of the money it borrowed from the Canadian and American governments. Fiat then began the process of buying the shares owned by the U.S. government.

CEO Sergio Marchionne joined Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty at a Chrysler Canada plant in Toronto on Monday to announce the loan repayment.

Marchionne said that he and Flaherty discussed buying Canada’s shares and said they are quite willing to consider purchasing them.

Unlike with the shares owed by the U.S. government, the company has no right to compel the Canadian government to sell.

Flaherty said Ottawa will wait to see how the stock transfer process unfolds in the U.S. before deciding whether Canada will sell its shares.


Japanese output in April rises 1 percent from March

Japanese officials say Japan’s industrial output in April rose 1 percent from the previous month.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said today that factory output – a key barometer of Japan’s economic health – rebounded in April from a 15.5 percent drop in March.

The March figure marked the biggest-ever fall in industrial output in Japan, hit by supply disruptions in the wake of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

In a separate report, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said that Japan’s jobless rate rose to 4.7 percent in April from the March rate of 4.6 percent.

The number of jobless stood at 3.09 million in April, down 300,000 from a year earlier.