French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire insisted on Tuesday that local French jobs must be protected in the event of a merger between French carmaker Renault and Italy's Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA). The French government has a 15% stake in French company Renault, which is closely tied to Japanese manufacturers Nissan and Mitsubishi.
Le Maire told RTL radio that he wanted four guarantees regarding the potential merger:
- French workers and factories must be protected
- Any merger must should not affect Renault's alliance with Nissan and Mitsubishi
- That "French interests will be represented" on the board of the new organization
- The new company must commit to developing electric batteries in Europe
Le Maire added that if a deal was secured, France's stake in Renault would not change, meaning the French share of a new entity would be roughly halved.
FCA initiated the talks with Renault with a view to combining the two companies. Renault welcomed the proposal on Monday and, following an initial meeting, said its board would study it "with interest" and give its response "in due course."
The combined group would forge the world's third-biggest automaker, making some 8.7 million vehicles a year and trailing only Volkswagen and Toyota.
Italy's government has been positive towards the plan, with Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini calling it a "brilliant deal."
FCA said the merger would not lead to any production sites closing down but didn't make as specific a pledge regarding jobs.
kw/msh (AP, AFP)