Maserati listing would need more engine power

Maserati, the luxury brand of Stellantis, presents its new MC20 Cielo Spider model
The new Maserati MC20 Cielo spider model is seen at Maserati headquarters, in Modena, Italy, May 25, 2022. REUTERS/Flavio Lo Scalzo

MILAN, March 21 (Reuters Breakingviews) - Maserati says it wants to be more profitable before considering a spinoff from 52 billion euro parent Stellantis (STLAM.MI). That is sensible. The Italian sports car brand returned to the black in 2021 after a period of losses. But at 8.7% of revenue, Maserati’s 2022 operating margin was less than half the 18% of larger German rival Porsche (P911_p.DE) and about a third of luxury peer Ferrari’s (RACE.MI) 24%. Chief Executive Davide Grasso promised on Tuesday to boost Maserati’s margins to 15% in the next 12 months. But given its frayed history, this would be too little and too soon to really whet investors’ appetite.

Grasso said the company will only consider a separation from Stellantis after hiking the margin to 20%, a goal it plans to achieve by 2029-2030, implying a listing is still years away. But assume Maserati were to treble sales to 75,000 units by 2025, a target the company touted in 2020, taking revenue to perhaps 6.7 billion euros, and hit the 20% margin target in that year. It could then already fetch a whopping 15 billion euros if valued at an 11 times 2025 EBIT multiple, in line with Porsche. That would make a spinoff meaningful for Stellantis, giving Grasso reason to step on the gas. (By Lisa Jucca)

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(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are their own)

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