Piaggio wins Aprilia prize

Scooter maker Piaggio & Co. SpA has won the bidding war with Ducati to purchase Aprilia, the financially-troubled Italian motorcycle company. Aprilia’s board of directors
Aug. 12 unanimously accepted the bid by Piaggio to buy 100% of the company. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Tom McDonald, general manager of Aprilia World Service USA, said the sportbike and scooter maker is “anxious to embrace the resources” made available through the Piaggio deal. “The combination of Piaggio, the largest European two-wheel manufacturer and the Aprilia Group, the second largest, creates a company with considerable resources,” he said.
A Piaggio-Aprilia group would boast a yearly output of 600,000 vehicles, a staff of 7,000 employees, eight manufacturing sites, and annual sales of $1.8 billion.
According to a statement prepared by Francesco Nepi, director Aprilia World Service SpA, Piaggio Group’s move will guarantee payment to suppliers and ultimately increase the value of the Aprilia Group from an industrial and strategic point of view.
Roberto Colaninno, the chairman and majority owner of Italian motor scooter group Piaggio, has said he expects the group to complete its acquisition by the end of October, once the Italian competition authority, Aprilia’s creditor banks and Piaggio shareholders, among others, approve.
Italian business newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore reported Colaninno also mentioned plans of an eventual initial public offering for the new company. Piaggio is expected to post a profit after taxes this year, thus an IPO ‘could be anticipated in 2006,’ he was quoted as saying.
The three-member board of directors of Aprilia is made up of Candido Fois and Franco Cattaneo, who have been appointment president and CEO, respectively. The third member, Mario Ferrero, is a consultant for IMMSI SpA, the Italian holding company and investment vehicle which controls Piaggio and in which Colaninno holds a 54.93% stake. PSB

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