Italy to Invest 450 Million Euros in Fiat’s Sicily Plant

Sergio Marchionne’s decision to shut down production at Fiat’s Termini Imerese factory in Sicily attracted a lot of critics from the Italian government and the Unions. But despite that, Fiat clearly stated that it will close down its plant in Sicily regardless of the government's plan to reinstate the scrappage scheme.

As expected, the authorities' priority became saving as many jobs as they can. A while ago, industry minister Claudio Scajola said that the Italian government already received offers to convert the plant. Today, Scajola stated that Italy is prepared to invest 450 million euros in the conversion of this plant.

The automaker has serious arguments for closing the plant and moving the Lancia Ypsilon production to Poland. According to the company, no less than 1,000 Euros are lost per car. Fiat’s Termini Imerese factory in Sicily has 1,600 employees, while another 1,400 are believed to be working for Fiat’s suppliers nearby. Therefore the plant’s complete shut down would seriously affect the island’s economy.

"The maintenance of jobs and saving the industrial presence in the region (of Sicily) cannot be ignored," Scajola said in an address to the Senate, according to a Reuters report.

A couple of weeks ago FT newspaper cited Simone Cimino, chairman of Cimino & Associates Private Equity, as saying that he is interested in the plant and that he needed a minimum investment of EUR 65 million (US$88.8m) to start making EVs at the factory. Building EVs in Sicily could really support the economy in the area. Things seem quite serious, especially as Cimino told the newspaper he has already raised about EUR 50 million from investors including the Sicilian regional government and French bank Natixis.
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