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No offer for Fiat Chrysler on the table, CEO says
September 2, 2017 / 12:23 PM / 24 days ago

No offer for Fiat Chrysler on the table, CEO says

FILE PHOTO: A Fiat logo is seen at a car dealership in Vienna, Austria, May 30, 2017. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader/File Photo

MONZA, Italy (Reuters) - Fiat Chrysler (FCA) has not received any offer for the company nor is the world’s seventh-largest carmaker working on any “big deal”, Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne said on Saturday.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Italian Formula One Grand Prix, Marchionne said the focus remained on executing the company’s business plan to 2018.

Asked whether FCA had been approached by someone or whether there was an offer on the table, he simply said: “No.”

The company’s share price jumped to record highs last month after reports of interest for the group or some of its brands from China.

China’s Great Wall Motor Co Ltd openly said it was interested in FCA, but had not held talks or signed a deal with executives at the Italian-American automaker.

The stock move was also helped by expectations that the company might separate from some of its units.

Marchionne reiterated on Saturday that FCA was working on a plan to “purify” its portfolio and that units, such as the components businesses, would be separated from the group. He hopes to complete that process by the end of 2018.

“There are activities within the group that do not belong to a car manufacturer, for example the components businesses. The group needs to be cleared of those things,” he told journalists.

Asked whether an announcement could come this year, Marchionne said it was up to the board to decide and that it would next meet at the end of September.

He said the time was not right for a spin-off of luxury brand Maserati and premium Alfa Romeo and the two brands needed to become self-sustainable entities first and “have the muscle to stand on their feet, make sufficient cash”.

“The way we see it now, it’s almost impossible, if not impossible, to see a spin-off of Alfa Romeo/Maserati, these are two entities that are immature and in a development phase,” he said.

“It’s the wrong moment, we are not in a condition to do it.”

He said the concept of separating the two brands from FCA’s mass market business made sense and did not rule out this happening in future, but not under his tenure, which lasts until April 2019.

“If there is an opportunity in future, it would certainly happen after I‘m gone. It won’t happen while Marchionne is around,” he said.

Reporting by Agnieszka Flak; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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