BRUSSELS/MILAN (Reuters) – Peugeot maker PSA <PEUP.PA> has offered to boost Japanese rival Toyota <7203.T> to try to address EU antitrust concerns about its plan to create the world’s fourth-biggest carmaker with Fiat Chrysler (FCA), people familiar with the matter said on Friday.
PSA has offered to increase the production capacity for Toyota in their van joint venture, one of the sources said. Another source said the French company would sell the vans at close to cost price.
PSA makes vans for Toyota in its Sevelnord plant in northern France. The van collaboration started in 2012.
PSA submitted its offer to the European Commission earlier on Friday, three months after the EU enforcer opened a full-scale investigation into the deal with FCA <FCHA.MI> on concerns that it would hurt competition in small vans in 14 EU countries and Britain.
“As of now, the transaction has obtained merger clearance in fourteen jurisdictions. As previously stated, closing of the transaction is expected to occur in the first quarter of 2021,” PSA and FCA said in a joint statement.
The Commission, which temporarily halted its investigation into the deal in July while waiting for the companies to provide requested data, did not set a deadline for its decision.
“The deadline is still suspended. This procedure in merger investigations is activated if the parties fail to provide, in a timely fashion, an important piece of information that the Commission has requested from them,” the EU executive said.
It is now expected to seek feedback from customers and rivals before deciding whether to demand more concessions, or either clear or block the deal.
(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee, editing by Louise Heavens and Mark Potter)