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Fiat eyes tighter grip on Ferrari

2006-05-05 07:50
"Yes, it is possible, but at the right time, that Fiat buys back part of the shares held by Mediobanca," said Luca Cordero di Montezemolo in response to a reporter's question about Fiat's interest in the bank's shares in the luxury sports car maker.

Cordero di Montezemolo, who is also chief executive of Ferrari, spoke to reporters while attending a food fair in this town located southeast of Milan.

Mediobanca has been looking to dispose of its 11.7 percent stake in Ferrari and has said a number of private investors had expressed interest.

Fiat Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne told shareholders at their annual meeting on Wednesday he hoped the automaker and Mediobanca would be able to find a solution by the end of the second quarter.

Fiat owns 56% of Ferrari.

In 2002, when it was suffering a crisis, Fiat sold 34% of Ferrari to a group of banks led by Mediobanca for €775.2m to pay down its debt.

Mediobanca has since sold off shares to a number of parties, bringing its stake down to 11.7%.

For the first quarter, Ferrari had a trading profit of €11m against a loss of €8m for the same period a year earlier.

Net revenues totalled €317m against €249m thanks to strong sales of its coupe, spider and versions of its F430 model.

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