Exor to sell entire stake in Swiss inspection company SGS to GBL for $2.6 bn

Exor, the holding company that controls Fiat SpA, today said that it would sell its entire 15 per cent stake in Swiss inspection company SGS SA to Groupe Bruxelles Lambert (GBL) for €2 billion ($2.6 billion).

ExorExor, which has been a shareholder of SGS for over 13 years, will sell 1,173,400 shares of SGS to Serena S. r.l., a wholly-owned subsidiary of GBL for CHF 2,128 per share.

Exor will use the proceeds from the sale to pursue ''new investment opportunities,'' the company said in a statement.

''We have been privileged to have been able to support SGS throughout these past 13 years,'' Exor chairman, John Elkann said in a statement. ''We are confident the company will continue to develop.''

Exor, the Agnelli family's holding company, which holds a 30-per cent stake in Fiat, will bank a €1.5 billion capital gain from the sale of the stake

Elkann recently told several Italian newspapers that Exor will not dilute its stake in Fiat after the carmaker merges with US peer Chrysler.

Fiat is currently planning to buy the remaining 41.5 per cent stake in Chrysler, which it does not own, for around $3 billion. (See: Fiat in talks to buy rest of Chrysler for around $3 bn: report)

Exor is one of Europe's leading investment companies with net asset value of € 9 billion. It makes long-term investments in diversified sectors, mainly in Europe and the US.

Founded in 1878, Geneva-based SGS transformed itself from grain trading in Europe by offering innovative agricultural inspection services. The company's current structure consists of 10 business segments operating across ten geographical regions.