Business

Carmaker Stellantis reshuffles financial operations in Europe

Stellantis logo at the entrance to the company's factory in Hordain
A view shows the Stellantis logo at the entrance to the company’s factory in Hordain, France, July 7, 2021. REUTERS / Pascal Rossignol

December 17, 2021

By Giulio Piovaccari and Gilles Guillaume

MILAN (Reuters) -Carmaker Stellantis is in exclusive talks with BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole and Santander about reorganizing their leasing and funding operations in Europe, it said on Friday.

The group plans to form a 50-50 long-term rental company with Credit Agricole Consumer Finance, and reorganize its financial operations through exclusive joint ventures with BNP Paribas Personal Finance and Santander Consumer Finance.

The plan marks a further step forward in Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares’ strategy to shape the world’s fourth-largest automaker, founded less than a year ago through a merger of Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot manufacturer PSA.

It will allow Stellantis to cut the number of financial and leasing institutions it currently operates in each European country from five to two.

“This is a strategic move to boost our financial performance across all of Europe,” Tavares said in a statement.

Branch manager Philippe de Rovira said the plan would also allow Stellantis to strengthen its position in the European companies’ rental car market, where it aims to double its fleet by the end of the year. this decade.

“We think in this segment we have huge growth opportunities in the coming years,” he said.

The Stellantis group’s rental car fleet, currently at 700,000 units, is expected to reach one million units by 2026, he said.

As part of the plan, Stellantis will run funding operations through joint ventures with BNP Paribas Personal Finance in Germany, Austria and the UK, and with Santander Consumer Finance in France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, and Brazil. Lan and the Netherlands.

In Portugal, it will work with Santander through a commercial agreement.

It will also sell its 50% stake in Fiat Chrysler’s former financial services arm, FCA Bank, including Leasys’ short-term rental business, to Credit Agricole Consumer Finance, which it currently owns. the other half of the business.

De Rovira said the overhaul of European financial activity would not affect jobs.

Transactions could be signed in the first quarter of next year and completed in the first half of 2023, Stellantis added.

Societe Generale is working as a financial advisor to Stellantis.

The European plan comes after Stellantis earlier this year agreed to buy US auto financial services provider First Investors Financial Services Group for around $285 million.

It used to be the only major automaker operating in the United States that did not own a captive auto finance provider.

(Written by Giulio Piovaccari; edited by Agnieszka Flak and Jan Harvey)

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Bobby Allyn

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