March 1, 2005

Fiat sells real estate assets for U.S.$270M

Rome, Italy – Fiat SpA said Tuesday it is selling real estate assets for 204 million euros (approximately US$270 million) as part of its strategy to get rid of non-core assets and focus on automaking.

Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne said that Fiat, which recently won independence from General Motors Corporation, is open to creating new industrial alliances. The Turin-based company makes trucks, tractors and automobiles, including the Maserati and Ferrari brands. Marchionne predicts a profit for the automotive unit by 2007. “Now that the issue with General Motors has been solved, the (company’s) future belongs to us.”

Fiat and GM dissolved their partnership on February 13, including an option that could have forced GM to buy the 90 per cent of Fiat Auto SpA that it did not already own. GM agreed to pay the Italian automaker US$2 billion, mostly in exchange for canceling the clause.

Fiat has vowed to turn around its car unit’s declining fortunes, which posted a loss of 840 million euros last year and a loss of 979 million euros in 2003. It is pinning much of its hope on a revamped version of its best-selling Punto model, expected to arrive in fall.

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