A floor of Pirelli race tires Dan Istitene, Getty Images

ChemChina Nears Pirelli Takeover

The foreign takeover made waves when it was announced in March, but the outcry subsided quickly after ChemChina called it security for Pirelli's future and that it avoided the risk of a direct rival's hostile takeover.

MILAN — ChemChina has completed its acquisition of almost 87% of Pirelli’s ordinary shares, leaving it within touching distance of its goal of delisting the iconic Italian tiremaker.

Marco Polo Industrial Holding, a company created to facilitate the takeover and 65%-owned by ChemChina, said its 15-euros-per-share offer valuing Pirelli at 7.4 billion euros ($8.4 billion) would be extended until October 27.

Analysts said this would allow Marco Polo to secure the 90% stake it needs to take the group private and begin a complex restructuring that will see Pirelli split in two and its most profitable part eventually refloated on the Milan bourse.

The 35% of Marco Polo not held by ChemChina is owned by Camfin, a holding jointly controlled by Rosneft and Pirelli’s CEO Marco Tronchetti.

The foreign takeover of such a famous emblem of Italian industry made waves when it was announced in March, but the outcry subsided quickly with Tronchetti defending it as an option that secures the company’s future and avoids the risk of a hostile takeover by a direct rival.

Under ChemChina’s plans, Pirelli will be split into two units, one producing high-end tires drawing on the company’s experience in Formula One, the other producing industrial tires.

The new unit producing high-tech and racing tires will remain in Italy with a view to being relisted in the future, while the mass market production will be merged with ChemChina’s tiremaker Aeolus.

The deal gives Pirelli an inroad into a Chinese market in which it previously had little presence.

In an interview with AFP in March, Tronchetti said the takeover would have no impact on Pirelli’s “crucial” involvement in motorsport, and also reassured fans that its calendars featuring scantily-clad supermodels shot by superstar photographers would continue to be produced.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2015

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