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08.06.2019 Europe

France ready to cut Renault stake to shore up Nissan partnership

Ludovic MARIN / AFP
JUN 8, 2019 EUROPE

France is ready to consider cutting its stake in Renault in the interests of consolidating the automaker's alliance with Nissan, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire has said.

The minister was speaking in Japan after Italian-US carmaker Fiat Chrysler pulled out of a proposed merger with Renault, saying negotiations had become "unreasonable" due to political resistance in Paris.

In an interview on the sidelines of the G20 finance ministers meeting in Japan, Le Maire said Paris might consider reducing the state's 15 percent stake in Renault, if such a move led to a "more solid" alliance between the Japanese and French firms.

Le Maire said Renault should concentrate on forging closer ties with its Japanese partner Nissan before seeking other alliances.

Last week, Fiat Chrysler stunned the auto world with a proposed "merger of equals" with Renault that would, by bringing in Renault's Japanese partners Nissan and Mitsubishi, have created a car giant spanning the globe.

The combined group would have been by far the world's biggest, with total sales of some 15 million vehicles.

But the deal collapsed suddenly on Thursday, with Fiat Chrysler blaming Paris for the failure.

"It has become clear that the political conditions in France do not currently exist for such a combination to proceed successfully," the Italo-American manufacturer said in a statement.