Italy stake in Stellantis not on agenda for now, minister says

ROME, (Reuters) – The Italian government buying a stake in Fiat-parent Stellantis (STLAM.MI), opens new tab is not on the cards, but could be if the automaker requested it, industry minister Adolfo Urso said on Friday.

Urso raised the prospect of Rome buying shares in Stellantis on Feb. 1 amid a spat over the company’s commitment to Italy, but since then both parties have made conciliatory remarks to ease tensions.

“Today (…) it is obvious that this is off the agenda,” the minister said in an interview with RAI public radio.

“It is clear that if the company were to say ‘we absolutely need an Italian public shareholding’ then a debate, a confrontation, would take place, but it is not on today’s agenda,” Urso added.

Stellantis Chairman John Elkann said in June the company did not need the Italian state as a shareholder.

Created in 2021 by the merger of France’s Peugeot-maker PSA, and Italian-American Fiat Chrysler, Stellantis accounts for virtually all of Italy’s car production.

Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has several times accused the group of putting France’s interests over Italy’s, describing the group’s birth as an “alleged” merger that “actually disguised a French takeover”. The French government owns 6% of Stellantis.

However, Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares on Thursday reiterated a commitment agreed with Rome to boost the carmaker’s output in Italy to one million vehicles by the end of the decade, from around 750,000 last year.

His comments seemed to ease fears about possible plant closures in Italy, in particular the Mirafiori complex in Turin, and Pomigliano, near Naples.

Reporting by Giuseppe Fonte Editing by Alvise Armellini and Mark Potter