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FCA to spin off huge parts company

by Chris Vander Doelen on

While the unconfirmed rumours continue about Fiat Chrysler Automobiles selling itself in whole or in part, at least one important part of the empire WILL be spun off, it seems.

FCA Group intends to follow through on a plan to carve Italian auto parts giant Magneti Marelli S.p.A. out of the family to realize its value, CEO Sergio Marchionne confirmed Monday.

The parts unit will be separated from the rest of the FCA herd and listed separately some time next year, Marchionne told reporters at an event in Rovereto, in northern Italy.

The spinoff could have major financial implications for the bottom line of the group. Magneti Marelli employs 38,000 people in 85 plants and 38 other locations in 19 countries, including a dozen R&D facilities.

Founded by Fiat and Marelli family partners in 1919, the company started by manufacturing magnetos for cars and aviation. Today it manufactures a wide range of automotive electronics, from lighting to powertrain, body control and suspension electronics.

Marchionne said he might follow the pattern set with their  spinoff of Ferrari, selling a small part of the company to outside shareholders first, the rest later. Or he might “just spin it” off, he said in a report from Reuters.

The details will be part of the next five-year business plan FCA intends to present to the public in 2018, the CEO said.

Questioned about the potential for also spinning off Alfa Romeo and Maserati, Marchionne repeated earlier statements that it was far too soon to do so. That unlocking of value might not occur even during the lifetime of the next five-year plan, he said, which will end in 2022.

That hasn’t stopped speculation that some kind of massive sale, takeover or merger deal is in the offing for FCA – with Hyundai as the latest alleged suitor.  FCA shares spiked in August as the rumours intensified. But Marchionne said Monday he has no contacts with Hyundai and that no deal is imminent.

Chris Vander Doelen was Opinion Editor and columnist of The Windsor Star until December, 2016; he was the Star's automotive reporter and columnist for seven years, and had also covered the political and gambling beats. With his wife, Veronique Mandal, he wrote the book Chasing Lightning (1999). Chris won a National Newspaper Award in 1997 and more than a dozen provincial news awards. There is a Chrysler 300 in his driveway.

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