Giuseppe Morchio, chief executive of Fiat, said on Thursday the industrial group hopes to resume buying assets after 2006, once its restructuring plan is complete, Automotive New Europe said.

Morchio, who has headed the Fiat Group for one year, began a cost-reduction plan last June designed to cut the number of companies tied to the multinational firm to 610 from 944.

The company, which sold several of its units last year — including aviation concern Fiat Avio — now has “a good financial structure, with 7 billion euros in the cash box,” Morchio told reporters.

“We have no intention of selling off anything else. The financial situation has improved, but as long as we’re not making money I won’t be satisfied,” he said. The group “may look at some possible acquisitions after 2006, but not before,” he added.
The group aims to make a profit in 2006, after investments worth 19.5 billion euros — 9 billion of which will go toward new products.

Morchio said that of the 12,000 job cuts anticipated in Fiat’s streamlining program, 11,000 have already occurred. He pointed out that the reduction in the work force is practically complete, with the remaining spots to be taken by the closing of job positions.