Not every merger involving an automaker these days involves a blank-check company. The newly minted tie-up between Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. and Peugeot S.A. was finalized over the weekend and the resulting company, Stellantis N.V., is enjoying a warm welcome.
At least on the stock market.
The new company’s stock trades on three exchanges and it finished the day on the Paris exchange up nearly 7%, closing at €13.14. It also jumped up 7.7% on the Milan exchange.
The New York Stock Exchange, the third exchange it’s traded on, was not open today due to the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
The $52 billion merger of near equals creates a massive enterprise with operations on six continents, employs about 400,000 people, sells – at least for the time being – 14 vehicle brands and sells 8.1 million vehicles annually, making it the fourth-largest automaker in the world behind Volkswagen, Toyota and the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance.
With all of those possibilities, it’s going to take a press conference Tuesday to start revealing what Stellantis will look like now that’s it’s a living, breathing entity. What brands will stay? How many workers will keep their jobs?
People are nervous because the CEO of the new enterprise, Carlos Tavares, has a history of being fearless when it comes to eliminating unprofitable operations and processes in the pursuit of corporate profit. One need only look at how what he did with former General Motors’ subsidiary Opel. A money-loser for a decade, he had it in the black in one year.
“Stellantis faces a mixed outlook as U.S. stimulus plans may buoy Chrysler vs. a more uncertain outlook for Peugeot in Europe,” Michael Dean, BI automotive analyst told Bloomberg. “Former PSA CEO Carlos Tavares takes the helm and, similar to his handling of PSA’s takeover of Opel in 2017, we anticipate a new strategy in the first 100 days of his stewardship. All regions face a difficult 1H amid continued lockdowns.”
The two companies have worked to allay fears of major cutbacks in France and Italy. While top managers have outlined plans to trim costs by $6 billion following the merger, they insist they will be able to do that without closing any plants. They have outlined 40% of those cost savings coming from purchasing, 40% from combining product development efforts, and 20% from marketing and other operations.
However, it’s unclear how Tavares plans to tackle other issues such as improving the company’s performance in China, the world’s largest automotive market, and bolstering its electrification efforts, especially in the aforementioned China as well as in the U.S. Just addressing those two issues are likely to require billions of dollars and euros. Some of plans for these things and more may get touched on Tuesday, Marco Santino, a partner at consulting firm Oliver Wyman, told Reuters.
“He has proven to be the kind of person who prefers action to words, so I don’t think he will make loud statements or try to over-sell targets,” he said.