Why did Renault-Fiat Chrysler merger collapse?
In a bid to become the world's third-largest carmaker Fiat Chrysler proposed a merger to French manufacturer Renault, but has now withdrawn the offer after the French government - which has shares in Renault - demanded job guarantees. The conflicting interests of the state and the market are responsible for the failed merger, commentators conclude.
An odd couple that is just too odd
The private and state shareholders are simply too dissimilar, L'Opinion stresses:
“What a mess, and what a brilliant demonstration of how impossible it is to reconcile the demands of the state and the expectations of private shareholders. The constraints they face are different in nature: political on the one side, financial on the other. Their investment cycles are also different: planned on the one side and erratic on the other. Their room to manoeuvre, their financial resources, their social requirements, their need for strategic alliances: nothing tallies. And yet: wherever it has set itself up the state continues to believe that it is unsurpassable. That's true, but as we see, it is not irreplaceable.”
Quest for compromise between markets and people
Fiat Chrysler stands for the aggressive globalisation of its deceased boss Sergio Marchionne while for Renault Colbertist mercantilism is a sacred principle, remarks economist Mario Deaglio in La Stampa:
“How to reconcile Marchionne and Colbert? How to reconcile the interests of the employee with the realities of the market? This is a fundamental question on which no one is completely right or wrong. We must find the right 'mix' that takes account of both technology and geopolitics. Today it is absurd to talk of 'national market leaders' in the global economy, just as it is absurd not to take account of human interests and only calculate the costs for robots and market shares. Seeking compromises in this area is a fundamental task of the politicians.”
France, a nation of contradictions
L'Echo can only shake its head in dismay at France's behaviour:
“Seen from the outside this episode looks like a real mess. The merger would have created a European giant, the third largest [car company] in the world, able to stand up to China and the US in terms of financial independence regarding electric batteries and autonomous vehicles. In other words: a future-oriented, European industrial project. Exactly what a divided continent needs. It's ironic that we can still hear the echo of Paris's indignant cries after the EU Commission vetoed the merger between French company Alstom and the German industrial giant Siemens. The fact that the very same France is scared to go ahead with an operation of at least the same magnitude defies (industrial) reason.”