October 2, 2018 / 4:30 PM / 20 days ago

Peugeot open to new deals as turnaround draws attention: CEO

PARIS (Reuters) - French carmaker PSA Group (PEUP.PA) is open to new industry tie-ups and is attracting attention from competitors after its lightning turnaround and swift progress in restructuring recently acquired Opel, Chief Executive Carlos Tavares said.

FILE PHOTO: Carlos Tavares, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Managing Board of PSA Group, poses in the new Peugeot 508 after a news conference to announce the company's 2017 annual results at their headquarter in Rueil-Malmaison, near Paris, France, March 1, 2018. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

The maker of Peugeot cars, which came close to bankruptcy in 2013-14, has rebounded under Tavares to record levels of profitability. The group posted a 7.8 percent first-half operating margin as it returned Opel and its British Vauxhall brand to profit less than a year after acquiring the business from General Motors (GM.N).

“Some of our competitors are looking at us with different eyes,” Tavares told Reuters on Tuesday in an interview at the Paris Motor Show.

“If somebody needs a partnership, if we are in good shape, if we have the technology, if we are rigorously managing our company, and somebody is knocking at the door saying ‘we need your support and we would like to have a partnership with you’, we are open for business.”

While PSA remains focused on its own operational strategy, Tavares said, deal opportunities may arise as other manufacturers struggle with tightening emissions regulation and increasing investment and technological demands.

“If we accumulate wealth and good financial results, we may, at some point in time, be facing an opportunity coming from breakdowns in the industry,” he said.

“As we have always said, we will always consider opportunities.”

Reporting by Laurence Frost and Joe White; Additional reporting by Gilles Guillaume; Editing by David Goodman

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