FCA-PSA, the Antitrust rock. For the exam four months longer

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towards the merger

The concerns of the authority focus, in particular, on the risk that the market share in the light commercial vehicle sector may go well beyond the 30% threshold at European level

by Marigia Mangano

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(REUTERS)

The concerns of the authority focus, in particular, on the risk that the market share in the light commercial vehicle sector may go well beyond the 30% threshold at European level

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The Antitrust exam on the FCA-PSA dossier goes to extra time. According to what is learned, FCA and PSA did not present solutions to the critical issues raised by the Authority regarding the risk of a concentration in the mini van segment. On paper, the two car manufacturers were supposed to provide the commissioners with additional documentation and possible options to avoid lengthening the ruling time on the dossier. But the choice was not to proceed in this direction. Hence the impression that on June 17 the EU Commission announces the opening of a real investigation that could last for four months.

The future fourth world car group therefore opens the discussion with the EU Antitrust on the risk of creating a dominant position in some industrial segments at European level after the merger. In recent days, the Authority asked the two car manufacturers for clarification on some aspects of the merger being studied.

In particular, the EU Antitrust Authority notes that Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot after the combination may endanger the safeguarding of competition. The reference, specifically, concerns the minivans produced by the two car companies. The concerns of the authority focus, in particular, on the risk that the market share in the light commercial vehicle sector may go well beyond the 30% threshold at European level, with the result that the new group can actually concentrate in its perimeter over a third of the market in question. Since 1978, the Fiat-Psa joint venture in Italy, “Sevel Sud”, between Paglieta and Atessa (Chieti) has been operational.

It remains to be seen whether the defense line of the FCA and PSA lawyers will be able to convince the EU Antitrust Authority in the coming months on the opportunity to leave the scheme of the operation “intact”. The opening of the investigation appears now, according to some sources, to be taken for granted. The lengthening of the time, however, could to some extent endanger the envisaged deadlines for the merger. The goal, recently confirmed by the two car manufacturers, would be to perfect the aggregation between the two groups by the first quarter of 2021. But it is clear that everything will depend on the position of the commissioners and on the guarantees (or conditions) that the same they will decide to put the merger free.

The Fiat Chrysler Automobiles stock has left 2.7% on the market. This was after the eve, precisely the fears about the merger in the light of the Antitrust lighthouse had pushed the stock down to 4.4%.



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