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Family business roundup: Pininfarina remains family-controlled while De Tomaso is sold

Italy’s economic woes are affecting the country’s family business sector, with two family-controlled auto companies struggling with financial problems.
A Maserati GranTurismo, designed by family-controlled Pininfarina
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Automotive Rhythms©

Italy’s economic woes are affecting the country’s family business sector, with two family-controlled auto companies struggling with financial problems. But while car designer Pininfarina will remain family-controlled, automaker De Tomaso has been sold.

Pininfarina, which designed some of the world’s most famous cars including the Ferrari Testarossa and Maserati GranTurismo, has reached a debt restructuring deal with its creditors and will remain under the control of the Pininfarina family.

In a statement released on 15 February, the Cambiano-based company, which owes over €100 million to a number of Italian banks, said its debt repayment date has been extended to 2018, from 2015.

The agreement, which will be signed in the next few weeks, will also see the company take advantage of interest rates “significantly lower than [current] market rates”.

The firm, which was established by Battista “Pinin” Farina in 1930, is 77% controlled by the Pininfarina family, with third-generation Paolo serving as chairman and chief executive.

While Pininfarina will remain under family control, the Rossignolo family has decided to sell a majority stake in De Tomaso, a sports and luxury automaker famous for cars such as the Mangusta and Pantera. However, the family will maintain a role in the management of the company.

The Modena-based business, which recently wasn’t able to pay its employees, was acquired by Car Luxury Investment, part of China’s Hotyork Investment Group.

In a statement released on 14 February, Hotyork chairman Qiu Kunjian said the deal will be finalised in the next few days.

When contacted, De Tomaso wasn’t available for comment.

The company was founded by Alejandro De Tomaso in 1959. Following his death in 2004, the company went into liquidation, but its trademark was bought by the Rossignolo family in 2009.

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