Ferrari (NYSE:RACE) said on Monday that it has come to terms with a group of 10 banks that will together provide the Italian supercar maker with 2.5 billion euros in financing.
What's happening: There are three pieces to this transaction. Ferrari is getting a short-term "bridge loan" and a five-year "term loan" that are together worth 2 billion euros, along with a revolving line of credit of 500 million euros.
Some of the money from the bridge loan and term loan will be used to refinance debt that Ferrari currently owes to longtime corporate parent Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (NYSE:FCAU), as well as for "general corporate purposes," Ferrari said in a statement. Ferrari didn't disclose the amounts of the individual loans, except to say that the term loan will be "a majority of the total facility."
The bridge loan will mature in 12 months, although Ferrari can extend that for another six months if necessary. The company said it plans to refinance that loan before it matures with some form of longer-term debt.
Why it's important: This is another step on the path toward full separation of Ferrari and longtime parent company. FCA owned 90% of Ferrari for many years, but it sold 10% of its interest in an initial public offering in October. FCA's remaining shares of Ferrari will be transferred to FCA shareholders in a series of transactions over the next several months.
(The remaining 10% of Ferrari is held by Piero Ferrari, the sole surviving offspring of founder Enzo Ferrari. He's not selling.)
What's next: FCA is expected to hold an extraordinary general meeting later this week in which it will formally approve the spin-off of Ferrari. Once that's done, we can expect to hear more specifics about the plan to pass Ferrari shares to Fiat Chrysler shareholders.
But while Ferrari's cars are always covetable, it's far less clear that the shares are worth grabbing at current prices.
Ferrari shares have slipped about 12% since the company's public offering last month. But even at current prices, Ferrari is trading at about 26 times earnings. That's an exceptionally rich valuation for an automaker. FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne prefers to compare Ferrari to luxury-goods companies, but even then, it's trading at significantly above the 20 times earnings that is more typical in that sector.
That's a rich valuation for a company that has limited growth prospects and that spent almost 20% of its revenue on research and development last year. Until we know more about FCA's plan to divest its Ferrari shares, I'd recommend that Ferrari fans continue to hold off on buying the Prancing Horse's stock.