Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. delivered a non-binding letter to the Board of Groupe Renault proposing a combination of their respective businesses as a 50/50 merger. The combined business would sell approximately 8.7 million vehicles annually.
The combination would create a brand portfolio that would provide full market coverage with a presence in all key segments from luxury/premium brands, such as Maserati and Alfa Romeo, to the strong access brands of Dacia and Lada, and would include the well-known Fiat, Renault, Jeep and Ram brands as well as commercial vehicles.
Groupe Renault has a strong presence across Europe, Russia, Africa and Middle East, while FCA is uniquely positioned in the high margin segments in North America and is a market leader in Latin America. FCA’s evolving capability in autonomous driving, which includes partnerships with Waymo, BMW and Aptiv, is complemented by Groupe Renault’s decade of experience in EV technology where it is the highest selling EV OEM in Europe. Groupe Renault also has a well-established and profitable financing business (RCI Banque).
The FCA proposal follows initial operational discussions between the two companies to identify products and geographies where they could collaborate, particularly as they develop and commercialize new technologies. According to FCA, the discussions indicated that broader collaboration through a combination would substantially improve capital efficiency and the speed of product development.
FCA also said that the case for combination is strengthened by the need to take bold decisions to capture at scale the opportunities created by the transformation of the auto industry in areas like connectivity, electrification and autonomous driving.
FCA said that the benefits of the proposed transaction are not predicated on plant closures, but would be achieved through more capital efficient investment in common global vehicle platforms, architectures, powertrains and technologies.
Under the terms of the proposal, shareholders in each company would receive an equivalent equity stake in the combined company. The combination would be carried out as a merger transaction under a Dutch parent company. The Board of the combined entity would initially be composed of 11 members, with the majority being independent and with equal representation of four members each for both FCA and Groupe Renault, as well as one nominee from Nissan.
Further, there would be no carryover of existing double voting rights. However, all shareholders would have the opportunity to earn loyalty voting rights from the completion of the transaction under a loyalty voting program. The parent company would be listed on the Borsa Italiana (Milan), Euronext (Paris) and the New York Stock Exchange.
The benefits flowing from the combination of the two businesses would be shared, 50% by current FCA shareholders and 50% by current Groupe Renault shareholders. Before the transaction is closed, to mitigate the disparity in equity market values, FCA shareholders would also receive a dividend of €2.5 billion (see Appendix). In addition, prior to closing, there would be a distribution of Comau’s shares to FCA’s shareholders or an incremental €250 million dividend if the Comau spin-off does not occur.
Geographically, based on FCA and Groupe Renault’s 2018 global sales, the combined company would be #4 in North America, #2 in EMEA and #1 in Latin America and would have the increased resources necessary to grow its footprint in the APAC region. On a simple aggregated basis of 2018 results, the combined company’s annual revenues would be nearly €170 billion with operating profit of more than €10 billion and net profit of more than €8 billion.
While the proposal focuses on a combination of FCA and Groupe Renault, FCA said that it looks forward—as part of a combined enterprise with Groupe Renault —to working with Groupe Renault’s Alliance partner companies. The FCA and Groupe Renault combination together with its Nissan and Mitsubishi partners would be the largest global OEM alliance, selling more than 15 million vehicles annually.
Groupe Renault confirmed that it received the proposal from FCA, and said that its Board of Directors is meeting to discuss this proposal.