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Agnelli family heir buoyed by good results at Fiat

The family-controlled Fiat Group announced yesterday it has returned to profit in the second quarter of 2010 thanks to a strong performance from its truck and agricultural equipment divisions.

This announcement follows three consecutive loss-making quarters and is positive news for fifth-generation family chairman John Elkann, who only took the top job at Fiat in April. (Continue reading here)

The Italy-based car manufacturer announced revenues of €14.8 billion for the period, a 12.5% increase on last year's results. According to the statement, the European car manufacturing business continued to improve despite the end of government "cash for clunkers" incentive schemes in Italy and Germany. 

This announcement coincided with the board's approval of a demerger that will see the group separate its industrial divisions from its car and retail business. The new unit will be called Fiat Industrial and, according to the company, will be separately listed on the Milan Stock Exchange at the beginning of 2011.

Elkann, 34, first announced demerger plans when he became Fiat chairman in April. He is already chairman of the investment arm of the Agnelli family's empire, Exor. It is through this holding company that the family controls Fiat and owns 60% of the Italian football club Juventus among other interests.

Elkann (pictured) was chosen by his grandfather, the former Fiat chairman Gianni Agnelli, to lead the family business after the untimely death of Elkann's cousin, Giovanni Agnelli, from cancer at just 33. Many in Italy view the family as the country's unofficial royalty and their wealth is estimated to be between €3 and €5 billion.

Fiat has been under the control of the Agnelli's since it was founded in 1899 and had 2009 revenues of €50.1 billion. 

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