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French FM warns Renault over factory closures and job cuts

By Lawrence Gash

Bruno Le Maire reacts to French carmaker’s ‘no taboos’ comment

Bruno Le Maire, the French Foreign Minister, has issued a warning against one of the country’s leading carmakers after it hinted at future job cuts and factory closures.

After reporting its first loss in ten years Renault’s Chief Executive Clotilde Delbos admitted that “it has been a tough year for Groupe Renault” and observed that the widespread downturn in the auto-sector had hit “right when we were facing internal difficulties.” Delbos added that nothing would be “taboo” in her plan to reduce costs by €2bn ($2.2bn, £1.6bn) in the next three years.

Talking to journalists in Brussels, Le Maire stated: The state will play its role as shareholder in Renault to make sure that the choices which will be made will not go against jobs and factories in France.

The finance minister affirmed that the government would be “very vigilant” in its dealings with Renault and alluded to a recent call between him and the company’s chairman Jean-Dominique Senard.

The French government owns a 15 per cent stake in Renault and has two seats on the company’s board. Le maire maintained: "The state will play its role as shareholder in Renault to make sure that the choices which will be made will not go against jobs and factories in France."

The finance minister will seek to strike a balancing act between ensuring efficiency and safeguarding jobs. With France embroiled in its 67th consecutive week of anti-government protests the government of Emmanuel Macron will seek to limit any further public outrage after his controversial proposed pension reforms.

Le Maire is also balancing the varied pressures of his position, with Brexit trade negotiations set to start his fellow cabinet member the foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian recently warned: “we are going to rip each other apart.”

Renault’s share price has closed 6.02 per cent at €31.04.

FURTHER READING: China warns France against excluding Huawei from 5G

FURTHER READING: Britain and the EU may 'rip each other apart' over trade, says French foreign minister

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