FIAT Chrysler Automobiles (FCA)’s plan to tackle financial adversity brought about by the novel coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday sparked serious political backlash in Italy.
The Italo-American carmaker, through its Italian subsidiary, has applied for Italian state guarantees on a 6.3-billion-euro (or 6.9-billion-dollar) loan from Intesa Sanpaolo, Italy’s largest bank.
This has sparked a debate on what, if anything, the Italian Government should ask back from a company that has branched out from its Italian roots but remains the country’s biggest private employer.
Andrea Orlando, a leading member of the ruling Democratic Party, suggested FCA should repatriate its legal and tax Headquarters, moved respectively to the Netherlands and Britain in 2014.
Carlo Calenda, a former Industry Minister, and leader of a small opposition party, Azione, called for a ban on FCA paying any dividends to shareholders for the next three years.
Earlier, Economy Minister, Roberto Gualtieri, clarified that the aid would be linked to precise guarantees which would be monitored with the utmost rigour.
“FCA will have to commit not to pay dividends in 2020, avoid any job cuts unless agreed with unions, and use the loan money only to support and invest in the Italian automotive sector.
“The aim is to preserve and strengthen the Italian roots of a major international automotive group which is entering into a challenging partnership with PSA,”he said.
FCA is planning a 50-50 merger with France’s PSA, which include: Peugeot, Citroen and Opel. Before the deal is closed, FCA has pledged to give a 5.5-billion-euro dividend to its shareholders.
– May 19, 2020 @ 18:10 GMT /