By Giulio Piovaccari
TURIN, Italy (Reuters) – Fiat Chrysler’s <FCHA.MI> top shareholder Exor <EXOR.MI> will have a total of 3.6 billion euros (£3 billion) in 2022 to invest once a deal to merge the carmaker with rival Peugeot <PEUP.PA> goes through, Exor’s boss John Elkann said.
Elkann, who leads the Agnelli family’s investment vehicle, said he was confident Fiat Chrysler (FCA) and Peugeot owner PSA would sign a binding agreement by the end of the year and dismissed concerns a lawsuit filed against FCA by General Motors <GM.N> could derail the deal.
In presenting Exor’s new strategy to investors 10 years after the holding company was established, Elkann said Exor would have about 2 billion euros of cash in 2022 for acquisitions, before taking into account an expected special dividend of around 1.6 billion euros from the FCA-PSA deal.
In addition to being chairman and chief executive of Exor, Elkann is chairman at FCA, in which Exor holds a 29% stake.
Besides FCA, Exor’s assets include controlling stakes in luxury carmaker Ferrari <RACE.MI>, industrial vehicle manufacturer CNH Industrial <CNHI.MI>, re-insurer Partner Re and Italian Serie A soccer team Juventus <JUVE.MI>.
It also has a 43% stake in publishing group The Economist.
Elkann said Exor would not pay out special dividends to its investors following the FCA-PSA merger. He also ruled out in the short term a new share buyback, which is the traditional tool for the group to award its shareholders extraordinary remuneration.
“We have just completed an own-share repurchase program and we don’t plan to launch a new one, so all the extraordinary dividend we would get from a PSA deal will be used for acquisitions,” he said.
Elkann added Exor had not yet decided in which industries it may expand its business.
“But I see ourselves buying new companies in the future,” he said, adding Exor would keep a strong focus on investments in the ‘environmental, social and governance’ (ESG) category.
Elkann said the family intended to remain a stable shareholder in the auto sector. ($1 = 0.9029 euros)
(Additional reporting by Valentina Za in Milan;Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)