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Fiat Group splits

Shares in a slimmer Fiat and sister company Fiat Industrial kicked off their first day of trading on Monday at a combined price that was slightly higher than the old Fiat's closing value on Thursday.

The demerger of Fiat's truck and tractor business from its carmaking activities is part of chief executive Sergio Marchionne's efforts to revamp Fiat, through a leaner structure aimed at boosting growth and helping forge alliances.

The split is also expected to boost the chances of merger with US automaker Chrysler, 20 percent owned by Fiat

On the morning of Monday, January 3, 2011 shares in the new Fiat SpA were trading at 7.25 euros while Fiat Industrial stood at 8.78 euros, their combined price slightly above Fiat's last closing price of 15.43 euros. The old Fiat had a market value of about 19 billion euros (16.3 billion pounds).

RMJ portfolio manager Alessandro Frigerio said: "Fiat trading is more volatile than Fiat Industrial since it is more difficult to value in view of the less certain outlook."

Fiat Industrial, whose assets include truck maker Iveco and tractor company CNH Global NV, has been separated from the car-making business Fiat.


Marchionne said the group has no plans "today" to merge Fiat and Chrysler but said Fiat was considering increasing its stake in Chrysler to 51 percent in 2011.

"If Chrysler is listed this year, we should think about speeding up the option of increasing our stake in Chrysler," he told reporters after the new-look Fiat shares had their debut at the Milan bourse.

The car company Fiat is expected to be less profitable in the short run as it invests to build on its stake in Chrysler and compete on world markets.

But longer term the unit could generate value by deals such as the potential listing of luxury sports-car brand Ferrari or the sale of parts business Magneti Marelli.


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