Pininfarina family might lose company majority

Pininfarina makes great design cars. We all agree that! But this doesn’t mean they don’t have troubles! They do! And big ones! Reason why the company today announced it will propose to its shareholders a 100-million-euro capital increase to reduce its growing debts. The move means that the Pininfarina family will lose its majority in the Italian car design company and coachbuilder. The family currently controls 55 percent of Pininfarina’s voting shares.

The Pininfarina family will underwrite part of the capital increase and also will rely on the support of new investors, such as French battery specialist Vincent Bollore.

In December, Pininfarina announced it will build electric cars with Bollore beginning in 2010.

After the capital increase, the Pininfarina family will remain the main shareholder of the company, but with a diluted share.

A company spokesman told Automotive News Europe that it is too soon to speculate the size of the family’s share after the recapitalization is completed. Last year, Pininfarina’s consolidated net loss increased to 114.9 million euros, compared with 21.9 million euros in the previous year. It revenues increased by 13.8 percent to 670.4 million euros.

Pininfarina has written off 69.6 million euros because of lower production volumes and because future production volumes will be lower than forecast.

Its debt grew to 185.4 million euros in 2007 from 129.9 million euros in 2006. In a statement, Pininfarina said it will remain in the red this year. It is planning for an operative breakeven in 2009. A new industrial plan approved today aims to reach a 7 percent operating margin in 2010. The electric car that Pininfarina will build with Bollore will be the main driver of 2010 planned turnaround. The four-seat car will be sold as a Pininfarina in Europe, the US and Japan starting in 2010.

Pininfarina and Bollore will invest about 150 million euros in the 50-50 joint venture to build 15,000 vehicles a year.


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