Further financial details have emerged from Italy concerning proposals to save the threatened Fiat group Lancis Ypsilon assembly plant at Termini Imerese in Sicily. According to a spokesman for union conglomerate Fiom-Cgil, Sicilian authorities and the Italian government have put forward a possible rescue package totalling EUR450m (US$610m) although nothing has been definitively decided.
“The Italian government has said it is thinking [about giving] EUR100m, the EUR350m is something the Sicilian government has to put on the table,” the Fiom-Cgil spokesman told just-auto on Friday.
Earlier this week, local media quoted Italian industry minister Claudio Scajola as saying the country was prepared to invest EUR450m (US$614m) to convert the plant.
“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 Reuters.
Up to 14 expressions of interest are believed to have been tabled for the Termini plant which assembles the small Lancia models, although the unions are urging the Italian government to consider only those offers relevant to automaking.
The Fiom-Cgil spokesman added that consultants Invest Italia had been appointed to examine the Termini plant’s future as well as the expressions of interest, although details of any bidders remained confidential.
“We are not so happy because it will be better if the government itself would do this kind of job,” he said. “Of course we would welcome that [Sicilian] investment but only for car production.
A Fiat spokesman stressed any potential Sicilian injection was “just words at the moment.”
Fiat wants to close the loss-making plant, which employs 1,400 workers, in 2011. It is ready to expand production at other Italian sites, including transferring production of the Panda model from