Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and PSA Group (formerly Peugeot Citroën Moteurs) plan to join forces through a 50-50 share swap to create the world’s fourth-largest automaker.
FCA and PSA announced yesterday that they aimed to reach a binding deal to create a $50 billion company domiciled in the Netherlands, with listings in Paris, Milan, and New York and with PSA’s Carlos Tavares as CEO and FCA’s John Elkann as chairman.
The move comes less than five months after FCA abandoned merger talks with PSA’s French rival Renault and at a time when carmakers are grappling with a global downturn in demand, as well as costly new technologies such as self-driving vehicles and cleaner models to meet tough new emissions rules.
“The Supervisory Board of Peugeot S.A. and the Board of Directors of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. have each unanimously agreed to work towards a full combination of their respective businesses by way of a 50/50 merger,” the companies said in a joint statement.
The management teams of FCA and PSA will seek to finalize the discussions in the coming weeks to create a group with 8.7 million in annual vehicle sales and make savings of 3.7 billion euros ($4.1 billion), even without plant closures, they said.
The group will include the Fiat, Dodge, Ram, Chrysler, Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Peugeot, Citroen, DS, Opel and Vauxhall brands, allowing it to serve mass and premium passenger car markets as well as trucks and light commercial vehicles.
About 80 percent of potential synergies could be achieved within four years, at a cost of 2.8 billion euros ($3.1 billion), the companies said.
“In a rapidly changing environment, with new challenges in connected, electrified, shared and autonomous mobility, the combined entity would leverage its strong global R&D footprint and ecosystem to foster innovation and meet these challenges with speed and capital efficiency,” FCA and PSA said.
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire welcomed the deal, saying it would give the two companies the critical mass needed to thrive in a fast changing industry.
The combined group will have an 11-person board, with six members coming from PSA and five from FCA.
As part of the deal, FCA will pay its shareholders a 5.5 billion euro ($6.1 billion) special dividend and hand them shares in its robot-making unit Comau, they said.
Jefferies analyst Philippe Houchois said PSA was effectively paying a 32 percent premium to take control of FCA. “We continue to see FCA-PSA as the most logical and attractive combination in autos,” he said.
FCA shares jumped more than eight percent in early trade, while PSA’s dropped about seven percent.
The deal would give PSA a stronger position in North America, where FCA makes the vast bulk of its profits.
PSA has already integrated Opel and Vauxhall, which it bought from General Motors in 2017, shifting them from nine GM platforms to just two, a step which helped Opel to return to profit after more than a decade of losses.