Shares in the French carmaker Renault have plunged after a union official confirmed raids took place on the company's premises last week. He suggested they were likely related to emissions technology.
Investors at the Paris Stock Exchange punished French carmaker Renault on Thursday after a company representative said anti-fraud investigators had checked parts and factories to ensure Renault was not involved in VW-style cheating.
Renault assured its customers that no so-called "defeat devices" had been found in any of its diesel engines, but that didn't stop shares from plummeting more than 20 percent by mid-day, with the stock losing 10 percent at the end of the trading session.
French media reports cited a union official at Renault as saying the raids could be linked to investigations into German auto maker Volkswagen after its headline-grabbing emissions scandal.
"Management has not confirmed that it is about NOx emissions, but given the sectors that were inspected, we think that it could be linked," union official Florent Grimaldi told the Reuters news agency, using the abbreviation for nitrous oxide, a key component of smog.
Peugeot shares down too
An official with the French Finance Ministry also confirmed to the Associated Press that raids had taken place last week but would not say why.
Shares in Renault rival Peugeot were also down 9 percent during Thursday trading, although the company was quick to say it had not been the target of any raids.
Peugeot did, however, report that recent technical tests of its cars had uncovered no evidence of devices or software designed to outsmart emissions monitoring.
"The test results … were passed on to us and they showed an absence of anomalies," a company spokesman said.
cjc/hg (Reuters, AP, AFP)