MILAN (Bloomberg) -- Fiat Chrysler Automobiles investors today approved the spinoff of its supercar unit Ferrari -- part of CEO Sergio Marchionne's plan to raise cash and reduce debt at the group.
Shareholders voted about 98 percent in favor of the separation, in which Fiat Chrysler will distribute the remaining 80 percent stake in Ferrari to its own investors starting early next year. About two-thirds of Fiat Chrysler's voting rights were present.
The carmaker already sold 10 percent of Ferrari in a New York initial public offering in October, raising about $1 billion. Piero Ferrari, son of the founder Enzo, holds the remaining 10 percent.
Strained by 10.3 billion euros ($10.9 billion) in net debt, Fiat Chrysler will raise about 3.8 billion euros from the separation of Ferrari. That will reduce its debt by about 1.6 billion euros with the deal, according to a presentation posted on its website. At the same time, though, it loses its most lucrative division.
"The separation will better enable Ferrari to realize its full potential," Marchionne said at the shareholders' meeting, which was held in Amsterdam today, where Fiat Chrysler is registered.
"It will also allow Fiat investors to benefit directly from the substantial value inherent in Ferrari," he said.
Exor, the Agnelli family holding company, will control the supercar maker with Piero Ferrari, and the two shareholders will sign a shareholder pact, Ferrari said in October. Through a loyalty voting scheme, Ferrari's heir and Exor will control almost 50 percent of the voting rights.
Marchionne said a separation of other brands from the group was "highly improbable" in the near term.
Reuters contributed to this report