TURIN – Pininfarina has approved a revised industrial plan that calls for an end to its contract manufacturing operations once current production ends.
The Italian company will then concentrate exclusively on building electric cars.
The revised plan came just before creditor banks approved a financial rescue for the company that saved it from the equivalent of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing in the U.S.
In a statement, Pininfarina said it would not look for new contract manufacturing orders after current contracts expire at the end of 2011.
Pininfarina is still building the Alfa Romeo Brera coupe and Spider and the Ford Focus coupe-cabriolet, but volumes are about a quarter of what the company had originally planned.
In 2010, Pininfarina will commence pilot production of the B0 (pronounced "B zero"), an electric car developed in a joint venture with French industrial group Bollore. Volume production is set to start in 2011.
Under the terms of the financial rescue plan, the Pininfarina family will lose control of the company, which was founded in 1930 by Battista Pininfarina, grandfather of current chairman Paolo Pininfarina and vice-chairman Lorenza Pininfarina.
The Pininfarina family will give 50.6 percent of its shares to creditor banks. In exchange, banks will write off 180 million euros of the 597.7 million euro debt of the Pininfarina group.
The family will retain a stake of about 4.5 percent of the publicly listed Pininfarina holding company.
To further reduce Pininfarina debts, the creditor banks next spring will write-off another 70 million euro in debts. In exchange, Pininfarina will transfer its trademark to a newly created, bank owned company.
Pininfarina said the creditor banks, which will become the controlling shareholder now that the financial rescue plan has been approved, would not ask for board seats or management changes.
Tragedy hit the company in August when its chairman and chief executive, Andrea Pininfarina, died in a car crash.
He was the grandson of the founder, Battista "Pinin" Farina.
The company has designed vehicles for Italy's leading carmaker Fiat. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi described the family as a "dynasty that helped bring the story of 'made in Italy' to the world."
Reuters contributed to this report
You may e-mail Luca Ciferri at [email protected]