MILAN (AP) _ Fiat SpA posted a fourth-quarter profit of 38
million euros ($46.3 million US) on Monday and said it had a net
profit for the full year for the first time since 2000 on gains from
asset sales and progress at its core auto division.
The quarterly profit compared with a loss of 550 million euros in
the same quarter a year earlier. The Turin-based maker of cars and
trucks also said it earned 1.33 billion euros ($1.62 billion) in
2005, reversing a 1.63-billion-euro loss in 2004.
That was ahead of analysts' forecasts of a net profit of 1.35
billion euros ($1.64 billion), and Fiat shares were up 1.1 per cent
to 8.24 euros ($9.97) in Milan trading.
Fourth-quarter revenue rose 7.5 per cent to 13.14 billion euros
($15.89 billion) from 12.22 billion euros a year earlier, while
full-year revenue increased two per cent to 46.54 billion euros
($56.29 billion) from 45.64 billion euros.
The profit is a boost for CEO Sergio Marchionne, less than a year
after he took the helm of the ailing auto division and pledged to
Moody's Investors Service changed Fiat's outlook from negative to
stable due to its improved operating performance and a ``sizable
reduction'' in its industrial net debt, which was 3.2 billion euros
($3.9 billion) _ down from 9.4 billion euros at the end of 2004.
``The recent trend improvements at Fiat Group, most notably over
the last 12 months, will need to be sustained and closely controlled
if Fiat is to strengthen its overall financial profile on a more
permanent basis,'' Moody's said in a statement.
``The success of new models from within Fiat Auto, in particular
the Grande Punto and a new C-segment model, the ability to
reorganize sales channels across its key geographies and the success
of recently announced ventures and associations with other auto
groups will also play a central role in the future shape of Fiat
Auto's profile,'' it added.
In November, Fiat and Ford Motor Co. said they had signed an
agreement to collaborate on small cars, completing a deal to
codevelop new models due in 2007 and 2008.
Also Monday, Fiat also said it plans to issue a seven-year euro
bond, the Italian carmaker's first debt issue to capital markets
since it lost its investment grade credit rating in late 2002. The
company said it would decide the amount and price of the bond issue
according to market conditions.