Fiat has reported a net profit of EUR1.2bn for 2006 and shareholders will receive a dividend for the first time since 2002.

Group turnover rose 11% to EUR51.8bn while Fiat Auto reported a trading profit of EUR291m, compared with a EUR281m loss in 2005,  and turnover there soared 20.2% to EUR25.6bn.

The board will consider recommendations to pay stockholders dividends between EUR0.155 and 0.93 according to the type of share, for a total pay-out of EUR276m.

Fourth quarter turnover was EUR13.9bn, up 5.5% on 2005, with a trading profit up 50% to EUR542m. Q4 net profit was EUR470m euros, up from EUR84m in 2005.

Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne said: "2006 was an important year for Fiat because it marked the completion of an intense period of [restructuring] thanks to which the group today is in a position to embark on a new course of growth and expansion during the 2007-2010 period".

Marchionne noted that "all the objectives we set have been reached and in many cases surpassed". "Our definitive plan for the next four years is even more ambitious and demanding. It is a plan which focuses on growth," he said.

Marchionne also said Fiat would continue its "strategy of targeted cooperation" and predicted that "by 2010 Fiat will once again be a leading international industrial group".

Bus and truck division Iveco turned over EUR9.1bn in 2006, up 7.7% year on year, with trading profit up 64% to EUR546m euros.