MILAN -- Fiat posted a 4.26 billion-euro net loss for 2002 on Friday as one-offs drew a line under the industrial group's worst-ever year and cleared the decks for new management to focus on a turnaround plan.
Fiat also said its board had approved a five billion-euro capital increase for its struggling car arm which would be carried out within 18 months. Of that total, Fiat would provide Fiat Auto with three billion euros immediately, it said.
In a statement of results, Fiat said writedowns, the costs of restructuring its ailing car arm and capital losses on debt-cutting sales of assets like its stake in General Motors totalled 862 million euros.
Fiat said it made an operating loss of 762 million euros in 2002 compared with a profit of 318 million euros in 2001 but the group broke even on an operating level in the fourth quarter as previously forecast by analysts. Fiat's sputtering car unit, the core of the group's problems and the centre of a costly restructuring, posted an operating loss of 180 million euros for the fourth quarter, pushing its full-year loss to 1.34 billion euros, its worst ever result.
Fiat said the board had also approved Umberto Agnelli, the head of the company's controlling family, to take over as chairman from Paolo Fresco, who announced the change on Tuesday.
Giuseppe Morchio, a former top executive at tires-to-cables group Pirelli, was appointed as Fiat's fourth chief executive in nine months after being nominated by Agnelli on Wednesday.