Renault/Fiat case 'not closed', says French transport minister

French Transport Minister Elisabeth Borne delivers a speech during the official inauguration of the CMA CGM Antoine de Saint Exupery container ship in Le Havre, France September 6, 2018. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

PARIS (Reuters) - Plans to merge carmakers Renault and Fiat Chrysler could re-emerge despite the breakdown of negotiations last week, France’s transport minister said on Tuesday, joining a chorus of French officials hoping the deal could be revived.

Asked if talks between the two companies were over, Elisabeth Borne told BFM TV: “I think it is not closed.”

Borne’s comments follow similar remarks by French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, who also said he felt a merger between France’s Renault and Italian-American Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) remained a “good opportunity.”

French budget minister Gerald Darmanin said last week as well that he hoped the door had not closed on a deal.

Last week, FCA pulled out of $35 billion merger talks with Renault, with both companies blaming the French government.

France has a 15% stake in Renault and the collapse of the talks deprived the companies of an opportunity to create the world’s third-biggest carmaker with 5 billion euros ($5.6 billion) in promised annual synergies.

FCA and Renault are still looking for ways to resuscitate their merger plan and win the approval of Renault’s alliance partner Nissan, sources close to the companies have told Reuters.

Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Mathieu Rosemain and Mark Potter