TURIN (Bloomberg) -- Fiat S.p.A., the Italian automaker that acquired a 20 percent stake in Chrysler Group last year, reported a first-quarter loss, sending the stock as much as 3.5 percent lower in Milan.
The net loss narrowed to 25 million euros ($33.6 million) from 410 million euros a year earlier, Fiat said. Analysts had projected net income of 51.6 million euros. Fiat returned to profit on the basis of earnings before interest, taxes and one-time gains or costs. Sales rose to 12.9 billion euros from 11.3 billion euros.
The company forecast so-called trading profit of 1.1 billion euros to 1.2 billion euros for the full year. Fiat, which also manufactures trucks and equipment for the farming and construction industries, announced a five-year business strategy on Wednesday.
Fiat said yesterday that Vice Chairman John Elkann, an heir to the Agnelli family, will succeed Luca Cordero di Montezemolo as chairman.
CEO Sergio Marchionne, who is also CEO of Chrysler, said on March 26 he expects all of Fiat's businesses to improve this year except for the carmaking unit after European governments decided not to renew incentives. European auto sales still benefited from the last effects in the first quarter, while sales in Brazil rose more than expected.
“The swing comes mainly from the auto business, with the first quarter marking the trough of the crisis,” Bruno Lapierre, an analyst with French brokerage Cheuvreux, wrote in an April 15 note.
Fiat fell as much as 36 cents, or 3.5 percent, to 10.06 euros and traded at 10.20 euros as of 10:42 a.m. in Milan.