Share market watchdog probes Fiat's cash pile-paper

MILAN, Oct 8 (Reuters) - Italian stock market regulatorConsob is trying to determine the "size and purpose" of Italiancarmaker Fiat's cash pile, which the carmaker puts at22.7 billion euros, Rome daily newspaper Il Messaggero said onMonday.

Both Consob and Fiat declined to comment.

The paper said that Consob's inspectors were looking at thecompany's balance sheets, without providing further details.

Relations between Fiat and the regulator are tense, thepaper said, pointing to a speech Fiat's chief executive SergioMarchionne gave on September 24 in which he said Fiat had been"exasperated" by the regulator's "19 letters" between April 2010and October 2011 asking for more information about its plans toinvest in Italy.

Fiat has 12.1 billion euros in cash and equivalents, andChrysler, in which Fiat has a 58 percent stake, has 10.6 billioneuros, it said on July 30. Fiat cannot access Chrysler's cashbecause of agreements with Chrysler's creditors.

Fiat has come under fire in Italy for delaying investmentsin new cars until the market recovers from a five-year slump.Fiat has said it needs to keep a lot of cash on its balancesheet in the event of a credit crunch.

It also plans to use the cash in part to buy up theremaining stake in Chrysler which it does not already own.

(Reporting by Jennifer Clark; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

((jennifer.clark1@thomsonreuters.com)(+3902 66129422))

Keywords: FIAT PRESS/

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