) -- A possible
IPO means that as soon as next year, Detroit could once again be home to three publicly-traded auto companies.
That likely would mean little to
, which is currently the U.S. car industry's star as well as its principal publicly-traded entity, said Standard & Poor's analyst Efraim Levy in a recent report.
Levy wrote the report, titled "The Return of the Publicly Traded Detroit 3?" after Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne, speaking in Turin, Italy, said the automaker will probably conduct an IPO in the second half of 2011. Impending IPOs by Chrysler and
would obviously change the landscape for auto investors.
But Ford is not disadvantaged by that scenario, Levy stressed, echoing a
by UBS analyst Colin Langan. "We see positives for Ford, regardless of whether other automakers return to the publicly traded stock markets," wrote Levy, who currently has a hold on Ford shares.
Ultimately, he said, "success comes down to product. We believe Ford has already benefited from its peers' struggles with government bailouts and bankruptcy
as well as
reputation-tarnishing product recalls, but, more importantly, from products that were well received by consumers in terms of technology, quality and utility.
"Ford is also benefiting ... from strategic changes in development that enhance product focus and reduced costs on a global basis," he said."Still, we think it must build on its current favorable momentum to continue its success."
As for Chrysler and GM, he wrote, "a change to publicly traded status for GM and Chrysler will not have a meaningful impact by itself on the competitiveness between the companies in the next couple of years." Rather, the two companies, like Ford, depend on consumer acceptance of their products.
However, Chrysler could benefit from being spun off after
completes the planned spinoff of its industrial businesses. That could lead to "greater management focus as well as potentially more investor support as industry pure-plays rather than a mix of various businesses," Levy wrote. "These factors can enhance a company's access to capital for expansion and debt reduction."
-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.
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