Bertone Group sale is suspended by Italian court because of family struggle

The family struggle among Nuccio Bertone’s heirs had its last chapter in January 28, when the Italian court in charge of the case suspended the sale of the Bertone Group, that includes Stile Bertone S.p.A., Bertone S.p.A. and Carrozzeria Bertone S.p.A, to Domenico Reviglio, owner of the Gruppo Prototipo and turnaround specialist. According to Automotive News, the reason for the suspension would be that Lilli Bertone, widow of Nuccio, has sold company shares she did not entirely control, as her daughters, Barbara and Marie Jeanne, have claimed she did. In order to protect the 1,300 workers, all shares and other company’s assets have been taken out of Lilli’s control.

The Italian newspaper La Stampa states that, according to Reviglio’ company, what in fact has suspended the deal was an article in the contract that allowed Lilli Bertone to use the name “Bertone Automobili Torino” outside of the current group, with a new company that has been created with this exact purpose, the BAT. Reviglio has already contacted the widow to suppress the article in the contract, as well as Barbara and Marie Jeanne in order to end the family dispute and solve as soon as possible all the problems that are preventing the sale to be fulfilled.

The Italian newspapers also informs that “Reviglio expects to contact Barbara and Marie Jeanne Bertone in order to establish a unique agreement to end this state of continuous uncertainty that involves the group, the shareholders and the workers”. That would allow all salaries to be paid, but workers fear that they may be dismissed if Reviglio takes the control.

The contract establishes that 35% of the shares would remain in Ms. Bertone’s hands, while the other 65% would be assigned to Reviglio. Considering the new attempt to reach an agreement, it is possible that the daughters of Nuccion will have a stake in the amount of shares that would be left exclusively for Lilli.

Among the recovery measures Reviglio intends to take is the production of electric vehicles, just like has announced. He expects the Bertone Group to generate € 39.1 million in revenue in 2008 and € 62.2 million in 2009, according to Automotive News.

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