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Pininfarina hires bank to sell family stake -source

MILAN, Aug 7 (Reuters) - The family owners of Italian car designer and niche manufacturer Pininfarina SpA PNNI.MI have hired Italy's Banca Leonardo to sell their majority stake in the company, a company source said on Friday.

The decision was taken at a board meeting on Wednesday, the source said.

The sale of the 50.7 percent stake held by Pincar, the Pininfarina family company, was part of a debt agreement with banks at the end of 2008.

“It is a commitment Pincar made with the banks. The family has no intention of leaving completely,” the source said, adding Pincar would no longer be a majority shareholder.

Earlier this week, Pininfarina said Pincar had subscribed for its 50.7 percent share of a 70 million euros capital increase. The increase attracted overall 55.6 percent take-up.

The Pincar subscription to the rights issue was also part of the end-2008 agreement with banks, the source said.

Various companies have been touted as possible partners for Pininfarina, which has designed cars for Ferrari. Pininfarina is working with French financier Vincent Bollore on developing an electric car.

Bollore has said he would consider taking a stake in Pininfarina. Libero said on Friday India's Tata Motors Ltd TAMO.BO, already allied with Fiat SpA FIA.MI, had been mentioned as an investor last year.

The source declined to comment on possible buyers, whether they would be industrial or financial, or on the timetable for a deal.

Libero said that if a rival took more than a third of Pininfarina's shares this would put at risk its contract with Ford Motor Co F.N to produce cars through April 2011. At 0743 GMT Pininfarina shares were indicated up 6.75 percent at 3.6375 euros. (Writing by Nigel Tutt, editing by Will Waterman)

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