It looks more certain by the day that a Chinese state owned automaker will buy a major stake in a major active European automaker for the first time. The giant Dongfeng Motor conglomerate wants the ailing French car company PSA Peugeot Citroen, and all signs say they will get it soon.
PSA Peugeot Citroen’s board has approved a plan for an alliance with Dongfeng in which the Chinese carmaker and the French state would buy large minority stakes at a 40 percent discount to Peugeot’s current share price, a source familiar with the matter said.
The board agreed to enter final negotiations on a 3.5 billion euro ($4.8 billion) share issue that would see France and Dongfeng Motor Group take matching 20 percent holdings, the source said on Wednesday, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The capital increase would be priced at below 7 euros per share, and perhaps as low as a 6.85 euro indicative offer from Dongfeng, the source said. Peugeot’s shares closed at 11.50 euros on Wednesday.
A spokesman for Peugeot declined to comment on the alliance talks. Dongfeng officials could not be reached after hours in Wuhan, China. The French government also declined to comment.
Peugeot, one of the carmakers worst hit by the European market slump, is cutting jobs and plant capacity to try to halt losses within two years.
The two companies have been in talks for months to extend cooperation to other Asian countries after a multibillion-euro share issue in which Dongfeng and the French government would acquire significant stakes, sources have said.
The Financial Times reported they plan to transfer some Peugeot technologies to Dongfeng while targeting new markets in southeast Asia.
The hefty discount on the proposed deal, approved by Peugeot’s board on Tuesday, reflects worsening conditions and currency headwinds since the company pledged to halve its cash burn to 1.5 billion euros this year, the source said.
Under its outline terms, Dongfeng and the French state would each hold about 20 percent of Peugeot after a reserved share sale to the French state and Dongfeng and accompanying rights issue for existing shareholders.
The founding Peugeot family would lose control as its stake was diluted from 25 percent to 15 percent even after acquiring some new stock in the rights issue, the source said.
The effect would be even more dilutive for 7 percent-shareholder General Motors or any other existing investors that turn down the chance to buy new shares. Peugeot hopes to conclude the deal in January or February, according to the source.
In a move that may help secure the new funding from Dongfeng, Peugeot last week named former Renault No 2 Carlos Tavares as its next chief executive.
Please allow me to clarify few points though.
GM sold its PSA shares last week already.
There are more deeper reasons as why PSA sales are down (USA government asked PSA via GM to withdraw from Iran.
Iran was PSA second biggest market after France, equivalent to 16% of its business. (About 500,000 cars)
Now GM is out, may PSA get back to business.
Current PSA shares are down, it is also a great timing to buy into for Dongfeng and French governement.