Giovedì, 18 Ottobre 2018

Fiat plays down headquarters fears, denies tax motives


(By Paul Virgo) (see related story on Elkann)
Rome, May 24 - Fiat Chairman John Elkann on Friday
denied that the carmaker or its sister company Fiat Industrial
wanted to avoid taxes and played down the importance of the
groups' headquarters.
There was alarm in Italy this week after
truck-and-agricultural-vehicles-producer Fiat Industrial said it
planned to move its legal headquarters to Britain after
completing a merger with tractor unit CNH Global NV.
There is also speculation that Fiat, the carmaker, could
move its headquarters to the United States once it completes a
planned merger with Chrysler.
Media reports said Fiat Industrial's plan to change
headquarters was dictated by tax considerations.
Britain is lowering its corporate tax rates, making it a
more appealing head office location for firms such as Fiat
Industrial, which paid 564 million euros in taxes to Italian
authorities last year.
Elkann, an Agnelli family heir who is a board member of
Fiat Industrial as well as being the number one at Fiat, said
the media coverage was off the mark.
"Organisations like ours do not have one headquarters, but
many," Elkann said.
"We have a major market in Europe managed from (Fiat's
base) Turin, we have an important one in North America managed
from (Chrysler's base) Detriot, one in South America managed
from Belo Horizonte and one in Asia managed from Shanghai.
"The more you keep going, the less sense the concept of the
headquarters has. Organisations need lots of headquarters.
"We have activities all over the world where we do well, we
make profits and we pay taxes. No one has ever wanted to avoid
At the start of 2011 the Fiat group spun off Fiat
Industrial to hold its non-automotive activities, which include
the production of trucks, commercial vehicles and buses, under
the Iveco marque, as well as the non-automotive sector of its
Powertrain subsidiary that develops engines and transmissions.
The issue of Fiat's headquarters is delicate as unions fear
the carmaker is tempted to retreat from its homeland, amid slack
sales on the crisis-hit Italian and European car markets.
Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne, who has also led Chrysler since
it emerged from bankruptcy in 2009 under Fiat's majority
ownership, has said the carmaker is committed to Italy and will
not close any plants here.
But Marchionne has also frequently complained about the
resistance he has encountered from the left-wing FIOM union in
efforts to introduce new, more flexible working contracts and
practices to boost the productivity and competitiveness of
Fiat's Italian factories.

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