Fiat family firm raises €1.5bn ahead of Chrysler consolidation

City A.M. Reporter
THE AGNELLI family has raised €1.5bn (£1.28bn) by selling a stake in Swiss inspection company SGS, in a deal analysts said could help lay the ground for Fiat’s looming purchase of the rest of Chrysler.

The Italian family, which controls Fiat through a holding company named Exor, yesterday said the same firm has sold its 15 per cent stake in SGS to Belgian conglomerate Groupe Bruxelles Lambert.

Investors saw the move as connected to Fiat’s plan to buy up the 41.5 per cent of US carmaker Chrysler that it does not already own, an acquisition likely to cost around $4bn but whose final bill has not yet been determined.

The deal would likely be accompanied by a share issue by Fiat.

“This transaction could seem like Exor wants to raise cash ahead of an investment in Fiat-Chrysler in the event that Fiat needs to bolster its equity, as it brings its stake in Chrysler to 100 per cent,” said Luca Arena, an analyst at ICBPI brokerage in Milan.

The Agnelli family has owned Fiat since 1899, when Giovanni Agnelli founded the Italian car producer.