FCA talking with Italy in bid for EUR6.3 billion facility

ROME (AFP) – Fiat Chrysler’s Italian unit is in talks with the Italian government for a EUR6.3 billion (USD6.8 billion) credit facility to help sustain the auto manufacturer’s operations in Italy, it said.

A “Liquidity Decree” passed by the government in April allows for the state to guarantee loans to Italian companies hurt during the extended quarantine due to coronavirus.

“FCA Italy has initiated a process with the Italian Government to obtain a guarantee from SACE (Italy’s export credit agency) in support of a credit facility designed to help the automotive chain Italy, comprised of approximately 10,000 small and medium size businesses,” the company said in a statement released on Saturday.

Discussions had already begun with Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo for a three-year credit facility exclusively for the company’s activities in Italy, the company said.

The global automotive sector has been crushed by the coronavirus pandemic as demand has evaporated and factories have been shuttered.

File photo shows employees working at the Fiat plant in Pomogliano D’Arco, northern Italy. PHOTO: AFP

FCA said the funds from the Italian credit facility would be “for the sole purpose of providing operational support for payments to Italian suppliers to support their liquidity” as well as “supporting the restart of production and investment at Italian plants”.

The EUR6.3 billion facility is equivalent to 25 per cent of FCA’s industrial subsidiaries in Italy, as per the government’s decree.

The automotive sector makes up 6.2 per cent of Italy’s GDP, while seven per cent of jobs in manufacturing are auto-related ones.

In Italy, FCA employes nearly 55,000 workers in its 16 factories and 26 research and development sites. The company work with 12,000 suppliers, comprising 120,000 jobs, it said.

Support for companies not based in Italy pose tricky political problems for the government as millions of companies in the country complain of little or no support.