Senior French and Italian politicians have hailed the merger between PSA and FCA to create the Stellantis manufacturing operation, after it was approved by shareholders.

More than 99% of respective shareholders voted in favour of the transaction.

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French Finance Minister, Bruno Le Maire and Italian Minister for Economic Development, Stefano Patuanelli ‘warmly welcomed’ the tie-up, which will lead to the creation of the fourth largest automotive group in the world.

The new group will bring brands such as Peugeot, Citroen, Fiat, Dodge, Jeep, Opel (and Vauxhall in the UK), Alfa Romeo and Maserati with the same leadership. The merger will reduce costs for both groups with platform and component sharing, as well as joint R&D expenditure

“It [Stellantis] will build on a strong presence worldwide, especially on the European and both South- and North-American markets, but also in Asia and Africa,” said a joint statement from the respective Finance Ministries in Rome and Paris. “With a strong manufacturing base in Europe, the new group will strengthen Europe’s industrial leadership.

“Reinforced innovation capacities will also allow the new European champion to play a key role towards green transition, which is at the core of our economic recovery strategy. Both governments will also pay attention to Stellantis’ contribution to industrial employment in Italy and France.

“Bruno Le Maire and Stefano Patuanelli welcome the approval by [the] European Commission of the proposed merger and warmly congratulate the managers and employees of both groups for their strong success.”

The companies expect  to complete the combination on 16 January, 2021. Stellantis’ common shares will start trading on the Euronext in Paris and on Mercato Telematico Azionario in Milan on 18 January, 2021 and on the New York Stock Exchange on 19 January, 2021.

The EU had competition concerns centred on the two companies’ dominant position in the European light commercial vehicle market, but approved the merger in December. Peugeot agreed to extend an existing cooperation deal with Toyota, which should keep the van market open, while repair and maintenance services need to be accessible to competitors after the merger goes through.

When it is completed, the merger will create the third largest global car company by revenues and fourth largest by volume. However, analysts say there is much work ahead to unlock synergies, rationalise operations and create value in the bigger corporation