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Commerzbank Takes Stake in Ferrari

July 1, 2002

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FRANKFURT, Germany (AP/Dow Jones) _ Germany’s Commerzbank has agreed to buy a 10 percent stake in automaker Fiat’s Ferrari division for $223 million, a bank spokesman said Monday.

The share purchase is part of a deal last week between cash-strapped Fiat and Mediobanca, in which the Italian bank bought 34 percent of Ferarri while agreeing to sell 12.5 percent to other banks.

Commerzbank spokesman Dieter Schuetz said the bank intended to hold the stake as an investment but couldn’t say whether it intended to buy a larger stake, or how long it might hold the current one.

The sale of shares in Ferrari, which is 90 percent owned by Fiat, is part of a wider plan to slash Fiat’s debt of $5.8 billion. Fiat’s chief executive Paolo Cantarella resigned June 10 amid the company’s difficulties and was replaced by co-CEOs Gabriele Galateri di Genola and Paolo Fresco.

Ferrari remains profitable, posting $46 million net profit last year.

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