Fiat Owner Exor Looking at Big Service-Industry PurchasesTommaso Ebhardt
Exor SpA, the holding company of Italy’s Agnelli family that controls automaker Fiat SpA, plans major asset purchases in the service industry after disposing of its stake in product-inspection provider SGS SA last year.
“We want to make one or two big investments in companies with roots in Europe or the U.S. and operate globally,” Chairman John Elkann told reporters today after Exor’s annual shareholders meeting at Fiat’s Maserati car plant in Grugliasco, near the northern Italian city of Turin.
The holding company is the biggest investor in both Fiat and CNH Industrial Global NV, the maker of Iveco trucks and New Holland farm equipment that was spun off from the auto manufacturer in 2011. Turin-based Exor is reorganizing assets amid preparations by Fiat to merge with U.S. automaker Chrysler Group LLC and shift the new entity’s headquarters to London.
“We’re not in a rush, as we’re waiting for the right opportunity,” Elkann said. Any acquisitions will be “most likely in sectors less capital intensive than Fiat and CNH, so more likely in services than in the industry sector.”
Fiat doesn’t need additional capital to finance achievement of its “realistic and not overambitious” goals through 2018 that include more than doubling earnings, Elkann said. Turin-based Fiat, which including Chrysler’s operations is targeting a 35 percent jump in annual deliveries in Asia during the period, isn’t looking for an additional partner to meet those plans, he said.
Exor sold its 15 percent stake in Geneva-based SGS for 2 billion euros ($2.73 billion), generating a capital gain of 1.53 billion euros. The Italian company, which has 2.8 billion euros in cash, doesn’t plan to pay special dividends to investors as it prepares for a major investment, said Elkann, 38, who is also Exor’s chief executive officer.
Other large assets owned by Exor include 68.5 percent of New York-based real estate company Cushman & Wakefield Inc. and 63.8 percent of Turin’s Juventus Football Club SpA soccer team.
“We want to give a little brother or sister to Fiat, CNH and Cushman & Wakefield,” Elkann said.