Development minister to meet Fiat CEO over plans for Italy

Expedience to determine industrial headquarters, says Elkann

Development minister to meet Fiat CEO over plans for Italy

Rome, May 30 - Italy's economic development minister told a radio station on Thursday that he has fixed a meeting with Fiat-Chrysler Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne to ask about his plans for Italy. "What I want to understand from Marchionne is what his intentions are regarding Fiat's presence in Italy," Flavio Zanonato told Radio24. Zanonato was alluding to controversy that has swirled around whether the group may reduce manufacturing in or withdraw headquarters from Italy given high tax rates, Chrysler's prosperous operations in North America, fist-shaking with Italian unions over productivity, and most recently, the merger of the group's industrial vehicle division, Fiat Industrial, with agriculture and construction machinery multinational CNH. "(Fiat) is the biggest company in Italy. It produces 420,000 cars, 30% of which will be sold in Italy. It's not trivial stuff," Zanonato said. Fiat Chairman John Elkann appeared to prepare ground at least for shifting the legal and tax headquarters of the new Fiat Industrial group on Thursday, saying, "Decisions on the legal and jurisdictional headquarters are dictated by expedience. Symbolic things for us have a very low value. What counts is the substance. Italy and those who work in the Italian plants will have great opportunities in the new group". Elkann explained, "We are extremely proud of having made a global company out of Fiat Industrial and CNH that can compete with very strong products. Smaller headquarters give us the possibility to structure the corporate aspect, but activities in Italy will not only exist and remain, but will increase in potential". "What we produce here and the workers in the Italian plants have a great opportunity for expansion in the world. What counts is to have created a great global company and to have given those who work - among them a large Italian component - many possibilities for growth," Elkann concluded. photo: Fiat-Chrysler Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne

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