Pininfarina picks firm to help sell family's

MILAN (Reuters) -- Italian car design and engineering firm Pininfarina said on Monday that Leonardo & Co. has been hired as adviser to sell the stake held by the group's family holding company, Pincar.

Pininfarina's creditor banks chose Leonardo & Co. as adviser from a number of possibilities, the company said in a statement.

In December, Pininfarina said Pincar had agreed with creditor banks to sell its 50.6 percent stake to help it tackle its debt situation.

Pininfarina, which in 2008 posted a net loss of 204 million euros, said it expects to make an operating loss in 2009 because of the impact of the economic crisis on car sales.

Though the group will not be able to generate operating cash in 2009, existing liquidity will be sufficient to allow it to continue operating, Pininfarina said.

French financier Vincent Bollore said earlier this month that he would consider taking a stake in Italian car designer Pininfarina if it needed an industrial partner.

Bollore is developing an electric car with Pininfarina.

Earlier this year, Pininfarina approved a revised industrial plan that calls for an end to its contract carmaking operations when current production ends in 2011.

The Italian company then will concentrate exclusively on building electric cars with Bollero.

The company, which has designed and produced vehicles for numerous automakers including Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Volvo and Ford, was hit by tragedy last year when its chairman and chief executive, Andrea Pininfarina, died in a car crash.

He was the grandson of company founder, Battista "Pinin" Farina.

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