MILAN - Fiat expects to close soon a long-awaited deal to sell aviation unit Fiat Avio to U.S. private equity fund Carlyle and Italian defence group Finmeccanica, a Fiat spokesman said on Friday.
Finanza e Mercati newspaper reported earlier on Friday that the 1.55 billion-euro deal would be completed next week.
"The deal is at the final stages but has not yet been formalized," the spokesman said.
The Carlyle Group declined to comment.
Fiat -- seeking to raise to cash to help fund a turnaround plan for its core car unit and to pay off debts -- and Carlyle signed a memorandum of understanding on the sale of Avio on April 7, putting an enterprise value of 1.6 billion euros on the Fiat group's most profitable unit.
Due diligence was expected to last about five weeks.
Fiat Chairman Umberto Agnelli has said the deal would be closed by the end of May.
A source close to the talks said an agreement had already been reached but the two sides were ironing out some details. "It's possible the details could be agreed in the next few days," the source said.
Finmeccanica Chairman Pierfrancesco Guarguaglini has said the sale price could vary slightly from the enterprise value.
The Fiat Avio sale will also need approval from Italy's Defense Ministry which has a series of contracts with the company. Fiat Avio is involved in projects to power the Eurofighter and the U.S. Airforce's F22 Raptor fighter jet.