Bertone, one of Italy’s most renowned design houses, is on the brink of bankruptcy according to several reports. The company asked for court administration on December 11 and has 120 days to find solutions, which are mostly limited to finding investors.
Bertone was badly hit by the 2008 financial crisis and has seen its orders reduced to an unsustainable level ever since. The company was forced to sell its carmaking business to Fiat in 2009, including the Grugliasco plant in Turin, which now builds Maserati Ghibli and Quattroporte models.
To compensate for the loss of that unit, the company has set up a new sub-division called Bertone Workshop, which specializes in building one-off models for wealthy customers, but orders have been scarce. According to a report from Italy’s La Repubblica, Bertone workers haven’t been paid for months and went on strike.
The administrator appointed by the court will have to steer Bertone during these difficult times and save 165 jobs by identifying new buyers. It appears that negotiations are being held with an unnamed Turkish company, said to have offered €2 million ($2.75 million) for the Bertone brand. Pending approval by an Italian judge, the deal will lead to Bertone filing for bankruptcy early next year in order to facilitate the change of ownership.
If the deal doesn’t go through, there are reportedly seven other companies interested in buying Bertone. No names were given, so let’s just hope whoever buys Bertone retains the workforce and keep the company going.
By Dan MihalascuStory References: Leftlanenews