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FCA Group merger could have ensured Renault's 'durability'

The French finance minister has described a potential merger between FCA Group and Renault as a “good opportunity” as signs began to emerge that politicians could attempt to reignite merger talks.

The comments came just five days after it emerged that FCA Group had withdrawn its proposal of a “transformational” €33 billion merger with Renault after representatives from the French government allegedly stalled a potential deal.

The Telegraph newspaper has reported that Bruno La Maire said that any merger would ensure the “durability” of the French carmaker as he visited Japan for a G20 meeting.

La Maire later said that the manufacturer must first look to shore-up its relationship with current Alliance partner, Nissan, according to the report.

Relations between Renault and Nissan seem to be cooling after the Japanese carmaker confirmed that the French OEM had indicated that it would block a proposed governance shake-up in the wake of Carlos Ghosn’s departure from the post as head of the Alliance.

Quoted in The Telegraph, Hiroto Saikawa, Nissan’s chief executive, described the situation as “most regrettable”.

The FCA Group – owner of the Abarth, Alfa Romeo and Fiat brands – confirmed in a statement issued on June 5 that its move to forge stronger ties with Renault had fallen flat.

Renault said it had been unable to reach agreement because representatives of the French government, the manufacturer’s biggest single shareholder, had requested a postponement, the BBC reported.

FCA Group said: “It has become clear that the political conditions in France do not currently exist for such a combination to proceed successfully.

“FCA expresses its sincere thanks to Groupe Renault, in particular to its chairman and its chief executive officer, and also to the Alliance partners at Nissan Motor Company and Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, for their constructive engagement on all aspects of FCA’s proposal.”

But it said it was still "firmly convinced of the compelling, transformational rationale" of its proposal to Renault.

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