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Bravo for Fiat as Q1 net income more than doubles to 358M euros

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MILAN, Italy (AP) _ Fiat SpA said Monday that its net income more than doubled in the first quarter, due largely to growth in its flagship auto and trucks businesses.

The Turin-based automaker also said its full-year earnings will be at the top of the previously forecast range, and it halved its net debt forecast to below one billion euros (US$1.35 billion).

Net income was 358 million euros (US$487 million), up from 138 million in the same period of 2006. Revenues rose nine per cent to 13.7 billion euros (US$18.6 billion), with all businesses up on the previous year.

The main drivers were the auto division, where revenue increased 11 per cent to 6.8 billion euros, and trucks, which increased 20 per cent to 2.5 billion euros.

The resurgent auto division recorded its sixth straight quarterly profit, as the once failing carmaker continued to accelerate away from the moribund state it was in when it seemed headed for bankruptcy.

The turnaround has been powered by CEO Sergio Marchionne, who has cut businesses, sought strategic alliances to share costs, and set an ambitious lineup of new car launches, including the restyled Fiat 500 in July.

Fiat shares, which have risen by over 80 per cent in the last 12
months, were up 1.7 per cent Monday.

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Bravo for Fiat as Q1 net income more than doubles to 358M euros
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