TURIN (Reuters) – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles <FCHA.MI> <FCAU.N> is in talks with several parties, including South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co Ltd <005930.KS>, over the future of its components business Magneti Marelli, the carmaker’s chairman John Elkann said.
“There are ongoing talks, but nothing formal,” Elkann said on Saturday during a meeting of shareholders in his family’s EXOR holding company <EXOR.MI>.
Talks with officials from the Korean group had taken place on the sidelines of EXOR board meeting earlier this week, he added.
Samsung Electronics’s vice chairman Jae Yong Lee is an independent board member of EXOR.
“We have talked about Magneti Marelli and also other issues, including the insurance sector … as we own PartnerRE,” Elkann told journalists.
The components unit is attracting interest because it could have an important role in car development in the coming decades, Elkann said, adding FCA was keen to strengthen the business.
Last month FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne said Magneti Marelli’s future would be outside the Fiat group in the medium- or long-term, but for now it was essential to its parent company.
Samsung has identified automotive components as a growth driver as sales in its existing businesses, including smartphones, slowed. Acquiring a proven supplier such as Magneti Marelli could help it overcome the high entry barrier in an industry known for conservatism and an emphasis on track record.
(Reporting By Gianni Montani; writing by Francesca Landini; Editing by Jon Boyle)