May 16, 2013 / 7:29 PM / 6 years ago

Fiat says moving headquarters to U.S. not on agenda

The logo of Italian car maker Fiat is pictured at a sale point in Meyrin near Geneva. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

MILAN (Reuters) - Italian carmaker Fiat SpA FIA.MI said on Thursday the idea of moving the group’s legal headquarters to the United States is not on the agenda.

“This issue, treated several times in the last year by the world’s media, is not the order of the day as the Chief Executive of Fiat, Sergio Marchionne has recently reiterated,” a Fiat spokesman said in a statement.

The statement referred to a Bloomberg report on Wednesday that cited people familiar with the matter as saying Fiat was considering moving its headquarters to the United States.

The Fiat spokesman’s comment, however came after remarks by Marchionne on an April 29 conference call in which he said the company emerging from an expected merger of Fiat and Chrysler Group LLC would be headquartered in the geographical region that has “the adequacy of capital markets (necessary to) support our operations going forward.”

In the call, Marchionne, who is also at the helm of No.3 U.S. automaker, Chrysler added “Europe is becoming a less and less relevant fact in the scheme of things” as its share of the global auto market diminishes.

“Italy in 2012 represented 10 percent of the overall sales of this (Fiat) Group,” said Marchionne. “And I think it’s a stark reality for someone who has been a Fiat aficionado all his life. This is a different house. It looks at the world in a completely different way,” Marchionne said on the call.

Many observers expect the merged company to be headquartered in Auburn Hills and to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange, the world’s most liquid stock market.

Fiat, which owns 58.5 percent of Chrysler has its headquarters in Turin, Italy, a country now in its second year of recession.

Fiat became 20-percent owner of Chrysler as the American company emerged from a bankruptcy in 2009 funded by the U.S. and Canadian governments.

Reporting By Stephen Jewkes in Milan and Bernie Woodall in Detroit; Editing by Lisa Jucca and Sofina Mirza-Reid

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