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by George Skentzos

Pininfarina, Italy’s only remaining contract manufacturer in operation, has announced it will no longer pursue contract manufacturing when current productions end, instead concentrating exclusively on building electric cars.

The announcement follows the approval of a revised industrial plan by creditor banks which will wipe off 180 million euros of the 597.7 million euro debt of the Pininfarina group.

In exchange, the Pininfarina family will give 50.6 percent of their shares to creditor banks, thereby losing control of the company founded in 1930 by Battista Pininfarina, grandfather of the current chairman Paolo Pininfarina and Vice-chairman Lorenza Pininfarina.

The company said in a statement that it would not look for new contract manufacturing orders after the current contracts expire at the end of 2011.

 Pininfarina sheds contract manufacturing

Pininfarina is currently responsible for the manufacturing of Alfa Romeo’s Brera coupe and Spider and the Ford Focus coupe-cabriolet in volumes about a quarter of what was originally planned.

By 2010, the first pilot production of the B0 (B Zero) will begin, an electric car developed in joint venture with French industrial group Bollore, followed by full production in 2011.

The company will reduce its debts by a further 70 million euro by transferring Pininfarina trademarks to a newly created, creditor bank owned company.

The Pininfarina family will retain a stake of about 4.5 percent of the publicly listed Pininfarina S.p.A. holding company.

Pininfarina has said that despite becoming the controlling shareholder, creditor banks would not ask for board seats or management changes.




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