PSA Peugeot-Citroën has been struggling to offer low finance rates to customers since its banking arm, Banque PSA Finance, had its credit score downgraded, which in turn has made it hard for the French carmaker to compete with brands that offer lower finance rates, such as Volkswagen. The French government recognized the catch-22 and, after negotiations with PSA and European Union approval, has guaranteed the banking arm seven billion euro in bonds to secure its debt and lower borrowing costs, Automotive News reports. The infusion of bonds will be spread from January 1, 2013 through December 31, 2016.
As part of the requirements for EU approval, PSA agreed to refrain from acquisitions in excess of 100 million euro per year and curb its debt levels, Automotive News reports. The EU Comission was required to approve the bond infusion before it could take place in an effort to reduce to a minimum "the damaging effects for competitors who have not received support from public funding," said Joaquin Almunia, EU Competition Commissioner.
In addition to the bonds for Banque PSA, a diesel-hybrid program will also receive 86 million euro from the French government, which was also approved by the EU Commission.
PSA was hit hard by the European auto-market recession and posted a loss of five billion euro last year, and it still has an appetite of 100 million euro per month. We hope this is the start of a turnaround for the struggling automaker.