Fiat Buys Zastava in Serbia
(chinatrucks.com, Jan.6, 2010)Fiat has entered into an agreement with the government of Serbia to acquire Zastava Company, Serbia's only car manufacturer. The company is best known in the West as the former maker of the Yugo.
The total amount of the transaction is the equivalent of $287.4 million, half of which has already been paid, with the remainder to be transferred by the Italian company during 2010. The agreement was signed by Fiat Group Vice President Alfredo Altavilla and the Serbian Minister of Economy, Mladzhan Dankich.
Under the terms of the deal, Fiat will acquire a 67 percent stake in Zastava, while the government of Serbia will keep 33 percent. Fiat's initial plans call for an approximate $1 million investment to upgrade its new plant, which will be able to produce up to 200,000 cars per year.
It is expected that the factory will specialize in the production of two new Fiat models. First deliveries of the products to the U.S. and Europe markets are to begin in 2011.
Fiat produced the previous-generation Punto in the Zastava factory, alongside the Yugo hatchback that had been produced there since the early 1980s. Both models were mainly supplied to markets in Eastern Europe. The production of these cars was stopped at the end of last year.
The government of Serbia announced its intention to sell the Zastava factory in December 2007. In addition to Fiat, such companies as Ford, Volkswagen, Tata Motors and China's FAW were among the main bidders.
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