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Pininfarina: Still Gathering Offers From Potential Bidders

MILAN -(Dow Jones)- Italian car design company Pininfarina SpA (PINF.MI) said in a statement Tuesday it is still collecting expressions of interest from potential bidders and acquisition talks with parties remain at a preliminary stage. "The company will make sure to [make an announcement]...the moment talks reach a level that requires it," the car designer said. According to latest press reports, Beijing-based carmaker Beijing Automotive Industry Holding, or BAIC, is considering bidding for Pininfarina. In November other press reports said Magna International Inc. (MG.T) was also interested in acquiring the company. Pininfarina has been experiencing financial problems since the economic crisis in Europe began in 2008 and has been looking for a buyer with the help of Italian bank Banca Leonardo for more than a year. Its founding family rescheduled the company's debt and agreed to give up its majority stake. The market has speculated on the possibility of an offer from French industrialist Vincent Bollore who has said he is willing to submit a bid, if the family ask him. Bollore and Pininfarina already have a joint venture in manufacturing electric cars. This has become Pininfarina's focus as it moves away from its role as a niche manufacturer for car makers like Ford Motor Co (F). Shares were outperforming the Italian FTSE Mib. At 1013 GMT they were up 6% at EUR4.08. -By Sabrina Cohen, Dow Jones Newswires,+39 02 5821 9906; sabrina.cohen@dowjones.com

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