France ‘did not derail’ Renault-Fiat deal

PARIS: French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire (pictured) said on Thursday that the government was not to blame for a failed “merger of equals” between Renault and the US-Italian automaker Fiat Chrysler, denying claims by Renault’s chairman.
“We did not derail the wedding between Renault and Fiat,” Le Maire told France Info radio, ahead of a meeting with Renault chairman Jean-Dominique Senard.
Senard told shareholders at Renault’s AGM on Wednesday that board directors representing the French state, which owns 15 per cent of the carmaker, had demanded more time to study the tie-up, preventing a vote on the deal from taking place.
“We didn’t veto the project,” said Le Maire, who has focused on Renault’s strained alliance with its Japanese partner Nissan.
“We simply asked, after seeing that Nissan was not going to give its backing, for five more days to study the operation.” Just over a week after proposing a merger that got a warm welcome from Renault and its investors, Fiat walked away last week, with its president John Elkann saying trying to push ahead with the deal would be “unreasonable”. — AFP