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BRIEFLY

International

June 01, 1993|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Fiat Reports Earnings Plunge: Fiat, one of Europe's biggest auto makers, reported its earnings plunged by about 50% in 1992 because of slumping sales and fierce competition that forced it to cut prices. Fiat said attributable net profit fell to $372.3 million from $752 million in 1991. Revenue rose 4.6% to $3.9 billion from $3.8 billion. The auto maker also announced that it was cutting dividends on ordinary and preferred shares to 6.75 cents from 16.9 cents per share in 1991, and slashing the dividend on savings shares by half to 8.7 cents per share. Chairman Giovanni Agnelli said 1993 was proving to be "another very critical year" in Europe, even if a loosening of monetary policies brings down interest rates and helps stimulate the continent's sluggish economies. Fiat said car sales in Italy fell 29% in April compared to the same month a year earlier, and that its overall sales in Europe dropped 18% in the period. Fiat said the earnings drop came at a time when the company's finances were strained by restructuring, the integration of new subsidiaries and other major investments.

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