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EDITIONS
Friday, 5 January, 2001, 12:21 GMT
Ferrari float hopes stall
Audience at F1 race hold a massive Ferrari flag
Fly the flag, own the share: plenty of potential buyers
By BBC News Online's Jorn Madslien

Ferrari fans may have to dream a little longer before they can own a chunk of the Italian sports car maker - and describe themselves as one of Michael Schumacher's bosses.

Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, Ferrari boss
The Ferrari boss is frustrated with "headhunters swirling around Ferrari"
It follows the news that Fiat has been considering floating the Ferrari arm of the business on the stock market.

Part of motivation for such a move is to make it possible to offer share options to its key staff.

A float promised the chance for Ferrari enthusiasts to buy their way into what is currently a very exclusive and expensive club.

As a Ferrari shareholder, they would technically have become one of Formula 1 world champion Michael Schumacher's bosses.

They might even have received invites to annual general meetings, where they could have rubbed shoulders with the boys in red fire resistant suits.

Up for grabs?

Speculation about a forthcoming stock market listing followed recent comments by Ferrari boss, Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, about how competitors were snatching key workers from the glamorous sports car firm.

He said he was frustrated at the way "headhunters were swirling around Ferrari making offers for our best people".

Michael Schumacher and Luca Baldisserri, drivers
Owners and drivers: would shareholders get to meet their employees?
But any hope of an early float was played down by Fiat in an interview with Reuters news agency.

"What was suggested by the papers is only one possibility in the future," one source said.

"There is absolutely nothing imminent."

Another source said the company had considered a float but decided not to go ahead with it.

"It was talked about a few weeks ago. From what I know they have ruled it out," the second source said.

Maserati's losses

Fiat would find it difficult to float Ferrari without first sorting out the finances of its sister Maserati, the second source was quoted as saying.

Ferrari racing car on the track
Ferrari no longer in the picture for the retail investor
In addition, an independent Ferrari would find it difficult to manage existing marketing and advertising agreements.

Fiat has developed a strategy for how Maserati's fortunes can be revived.

Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo has said he was determined to get Maserati back on track.

Fiat has invested about $120m to rebuild the brand as a head-on rival to sports cars such as Porsche and Mercedes, and a new factory has been built in Northern Italy.

By 2004, Fiat wants to build 10,000 Maseratis a year, up from the current 2,000, in an effort to make it Ferrari's volume car.

In the year just ended, Ferrari sold more than 4,000 cars for the first time.

See also:

14 Oct 00 | Sports Talk
02 Jul 00 | Motorsport
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