NI wants partner with cash and know-how
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THE HM-U)-hit French lorry manufacturing industry, which has now been reduced to only one large undertaking, Renault Vehicles Industriels, wants a new partner with cash and the latest technological know-how.
Renault's chief executive, Georges Besse, told his board of directors in Paris last week that he is looking for a European partner to buy a stake in RVI.
Later a spokesman for Renault's works' council claimed that negotiations were taking place with Mercedes at a castle outside Paris — a report which was denied by the management.
The Renault unions are unhappy about the proposed deal with a foreign partner, which they fear will sound the death knell for the French national lorry industry.
Mercedes has shown interest in buying into the French lorry industry once before, but was put off by fears of industrial unrest and nationalisation.
The Germans had talks with Berliet in Lyons before the company's ageing factory was taken over by Citroen and later absorbed by RVI.
Renault's lorry venture was never successful, and the workforce which was 34,000 in 1978 is being reduced to 24,000 this year.
Losses last year totalled F3bn (about £250m) and the company is estimated to need an injection of 030m new capital.