French prime minister says Peugeot stake not on the agenda image

France’s Prime Minister said the state has no current plan to buy a stake in ailing carmaker PSA Peugeot Citroen.

The comments came a day after Peugeot took a 4.1 billion euro write-down on its plants and other automotive assets. “Regarding the purchase of a stake in this company, it is not on the agenda because PSA is not asking for it. We do have a tool, the FSI (France’s sovereign-wealth fund), which can if necessary take a stake. But today this question is not being looked at,” Prime Minister Ayrault was quoted as saying by Reuters.

A spokesman for the FSI said the organization has no current plan to invest in Peugeot, while the carmaker declined to comment. Peugeot’s future is a sensible topic in France given its status as a flagship of French industry, accounting for the country’s two-thirds of car production.

Although the write-down was a non-cash accounting item that does not affect Peugeot’s liquidity or solvency, it prompted speculation the state might intervene. Budget Minister Jerome Cahuzac said in a TV interview France might consider investing in Peugeot, a company that „must not and cannot disappear”.

Unlike Renault, the French state has no holding in Peugeot. France nationalized Renault after World War Two and still holds a 15 percent stake. Peugeot remained private and is 25 percent owned by the Peugeot family.