Ferrari Chairman Welcomes Mediobanca

08 July 2002

The day after merchant bank Mediobanca agreed to buy 34 percent of Ferrari, the chairman of the luxury sports car maker welcomed the new shareholder and promised old shareholders improved results.

Luca di Montezemolo, Ferrari's chairman and managing director, said innovation of Ferrari plants, higher sales and new models -- including the ``Enzo'' unveiled Friday at company headquarters in Maranello -- were part of the strategy of the Italian company. The ``Enzo,'' named after the company founder Enzo Ferrari, is a 12-cylinder luxury car in carbon fiber that will be officially unveiled in Paris in September. Only 349 units will be produced starting in November to sell at the unofficial price of $693,000.

Mediobanca announced Thursday that it will buy the 34 percent stake from the troubled auto maker Fiat of Turin for $767.4 million to become the single global coordinator of Ferrari's announced public offering intended to raise cash for Ferrari's new investments and projects. The Ferrari family will still have majority stake, Montezemolo said.

Montezemolo said he was unaware of Fiat's Mediobanca plans, calling it a ``Fiat decision.'' But he denied that he would resign, although he said he had reached all the projected targets during his 11-year chairmanship at Ferrari.

``We are proud now that we can help Fiat, for a small part, to overcome the difficult moments,'' Montezemolo said. He said that Ferrari results in the first five months of the year have improved from last year. Ferrari posted a net profit of $46.5 million last year, sharply up from $6.5 million in 2000. Exports amounted to $1.04 billion, more than 90 percent of Ferrari's sales last year.

Montezemolo said the company hoped to double sales of its Maserati models, to 3,800 this year, while projecting Ferrari sales at the 2001 level.

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