TURIN -- Fiat shareholders today approved the automaker's merger with Chrysler in a move that seals the end of Fiat as an Italian company.
Fiat, Italy's largest manufacturer and a symbol of the country's struggle to adapt to globalization, is leaving home after 115 years. The new company arising from the merger, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, will be incorporated under Dutch law, based in the UK and listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
The merger will create the world's seventh-largest automaker.
"With today's meeting begins the future of our company," Chairman John Elkann, the grandson of late Fiat patriarch Gianni Agnelli, said at the start of the last shareholder meeting likely to be held in Italy.
Fiat won the two thirds majority it needed for the merger. Around 8 percent of all Fiat shareholders voted against the move. Should all of them exercise their exit rights, the move could still fail, according to a condition set out as part of the merger.
CEO Sergio Marchionne said after the vote that he is confident that the merger will get final approval despite resistance from some shareholders.
Investors will receive one FCA share for each Fiat share they hold. Most will also be eligible for special voting shares, which will not be listed or traded. Investors who voted against the merger are entitled to cash exit rights of 7.727 euros per share. Should the total sum that needs to be paid for those rights to shareholders and creditors exceed 500 million euros, the merger will fail, Fiat has said.
Marchionne said he would try again try to merge the two carmakers if that occurred, but the process would be much delayed.
The creation of FCA will not lead to significant operational cost savings or synergies, Fiat has said, and failure to get the final OK for the tie-up would have little operational impact.