MILAN — Terms of a planned merger between Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Peugeot owner PSA Group are set in stone, FCA’s chairman said on Wednesday, brushing off talk that some aspects of the deal might be re-negotiated because of the COVID-19 crisis.
FCA and PSA have entered a binding agreement to create the world’s fourth-largest automaker that FCA’s chairman John Elkann confirmed was expected to close in the first quarter of next year.
But FCA has come in for criticism in Italy over a 5.5 billion euro ($6 billion) special dividend that is part of the PSA deal after its local business said it was in talks with Rome and Intesa Sanpaolo over a 6.3 billion euro ($6.9 billion) state-backed loan to cope with the COVID-19 crisis.
The potential payment of such a big dividend to shareholders when the coronavirus crisis has left cash-starved manufacturers pushing for government support has been questioned within Italy’s ruling coalition.
But FCA Chairman Elkann said the terms of the…