Fiat has renewed a three-year, EUR2bn (US$2.64bn) revolving credit line, reportedly a vital step in its plan to acquire the Chrysler shares it does not already own.

The loan agreement with nine banks refinances a EUR1.95bn loan of the same duration that was signed in July 2011, the company told Reuters.

"The operations shows the strong support for the Fiat group from its key banks," Fiat said.

The loan refinancing is one step in a three-phase refinancing plan that includes the re-negotiation of Chrysler's $3bn loan and financing for the acquisition of Chrysler's shares.

The refinancing are designed to cut borrowing terms and adjust the covenant terms of both loans to allow the merger to go ahead.

Chrysler completed its $3bn loan refinancing on Thursday, when the loan went free to trade in New York. The share purchase deal is on a longer post-summer timetable, bankers told Reuters.

Fiat's EUR2bn loan refinancing will be launched to a second group of relationship banks shortly in a wider plan to reduce the nine lead banks' exposure, a senior banker told the news agency.

The nine banks that have already joined the deal are Barclays, BNP Paribas, Citigroup, Credit Agricole CIB, Intesa San Paolo, Mediobanca, Royal Bank of Scotland, Societe Generale and UniCredit.

Each of them committed around EUR222m to the loan which they are aiming to cut to around EUR150m each with the syndication, the senior banker said.

Fiat is rated BB- by Standard and Poor's and Ba3 by Moody's, Reuters noted.