CAMBIANO, Italy Feb 15 Pininfarina
, which in tough markets has downsized from a coachwork
maker for high-end sports cars to focus on its automotive design
business, said it had reached a debt restructuring deal with
banks after long-running talks.
The Italian company, famous for designs including the
Ferrari FF and Maserati Gran Turismo, will complete a 182.6
million-euro ($239.8 million) debt restructuring deal with 13
creditor banks by the end of March, Chief Executive Silvio
Pietro Angori told shareholders on Wednesday.
The agreement with creditor banks will allow the loss-making
company to pay back debt by the end of 2018, rather than 2015 as
previously planned. The agreement, when signed, also cuts
interest paid on debt to "well below market rates," its Chief
Financial Officer Gianfranco Albertini said.
The debt restructuring talks were first announced
at the end of 2008, when the automotive industry slumped along
with the world economy.
Pininfarina has struggled to return to profit in recent years,
after being forced to shut down manufacturing operations to
focus on design and engineering services.
The company, founded in 1930 by Battista "Pinin" Farina, is
hoping the debt restructuring and new business plan will allow
it to turn the corner.
Its sales have fallen from an annual 670 million euros --
the bulk of which was from manufacturing -- in 2007 to 45
million in the first nine months of 2011.
Shareholders approved the company's new 2012-2018 industrial
plan, as well as a motion to postpone a capital reduction to
cover losses, which would have been necessary if the company had
not reached the accord with creditors.
Pininfarina's business plan reflects its change in focus.
It aims to grow its design and engineering business in Germany
and the Far East; enhance the value of its brand through
partnerships with third parties; and build on its know-how in
Financial targets will be released on March 22 along with
($1 = 0.7616 euros)
(Reporting by Jennifer Clark; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter and