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'Fiat not for sale'

2005-06-24 09:46

"It is not under consideration," Chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo said, responding to a question about whether Fiat SpA was considering spinning off its auto unit. Montezemolo was speaking on the sidelines of a media event at Ferrari headquarters near Bologna.

Fiat shares have risen in recent days amid speculation that a spin-off might be part of an industrial plan to be unveiled in the upcoming weeks.

Fiat is trying to restore itself to financial health after years of crisis. Results earlier this year showed the group's losses moderately narrowed in 2004, including at its key Fiat Auto unit.

Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne said earlier this week that the Fiat management is working on forging new industrial alliances, after a partnership with General Motors was dissolved in February.

Asked about possible international alliances, Montezemolo said on Wednesday that "thinking of a Fiat that's not Italian seems out of place, but a more international Fiat is inevitable."

Fiat Auto is widely seen as needing a strong industrial partner to stay afloat in an auto industry where even the biggest companies are struggling.

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