Agco Corp interested in Fiat’s CNH Global NV unit

Article by Christian A., on December 11, 2010

Martin Richenhagen, the chief of Agco Corp., a U.S. farm equipment maker, says Agco is interested in Fiat S.p.A.'s CNH Global NV unit, but it is not clear if Fiat wants to sell. Richenhagen told business newspaper MF he had met Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne but they didn’t come to any agreement.

Richenhagen adds it was unclear whether Fiat, Europe's number six car maker by market share, wanted to sell CNH, which makes Case and New Holland brands of farm and earthmoving equipment.

Fiat owns 89 percent of CNH, which has a market valuation of $10.7 billion. Richenhagen says that Fiat could be waiting to see results from Chrysler, the U.S. automaker in which Fiat holds 20 percent, before thinking about selling CNH or truck unit Iveco.

Fiat is severing its auto business from its industrial activities, including CNH, at the start of 2011. Agco, whose brands include Massey Ferguson, is moving ahead on a possible CNH merger by studying antitrust issues and on financing "to understand who could accompany us in a similar operation," Richenhagen said.

Based in Turin, Italy, Fiat S.p.A., (Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino) was established in July 1899 by a group of investors, including Giovanni Agnelli. By 1910, Fiat became the largest carmaker in Italy, a position it has retained since. It has grown to become one of the major carmakers in the world, as achieved partly by acquiring other automakers such as Lancia in 1968, Ferrari in 1969 (as shareholder), Alfa Romeo in 1986 and Maserati in 1993.

Until his death in 1945, Agnelli was leading Fiat, with Vittorio Valletta in charge of daily activities. Fiat’s first car was the 3 1/2 CV as bodied by Alessio of Turin and powered by a 697-cc boxer twin engine.

Based in Amsterdam, Netherlands, CNH Global NV is engaged in the manufacture of agricultural and construction equipment. It was formed by Fiat on November 12, 1999, by merging Case Corp. and New Holland NV. Case Corp was founded by Jerome I. Case in 1842 as the J. I. Case Threshing Machine Company, a name it held for most of a century, until 1928. New Holland, meanwhile, was founded as the New Holland Machine Company in 1895. It was acquired by Ford Motor Co. in 1986, and by FiatAgri in 1991.

Headquartered in Duluth, Georgia, United States, AGCO Corporation is an American agricultural equipment maker established in 1990 when Deutz-Allis North American operations was bought out from parent corporation KHD (Klockner-Humboldt-Deutz). The company was initially named as Gleaner-Allis Corporation, but was rearranged to become Allis-Gleaner Corporation, or AGCO.

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