Skip to content
Subscriber Only

France's Heavy Corporate Hand Has Foreign Partners Chafing

  • Resentments ignite at Air France-KLM and Renault-Nissan
  • More-profitable foreign units play second fiddle to French
International Flight Operations at Charles de Gaulle Airport
Photographer: Marlene Awaad/Bloomberg
Updated on

The French state isn’t shy about flexing its muscles as a major shareholder in some of the country’s biggest companies. But suddenly foreign partners in two of its prized holdings are pushing back.

France was blindsided when the Dutch government took an almost 13 percent stake in Air France-KLM Group to gain parity with the French holding in the airline. Just three months earlier, Japan threw the auto alliance between Renault SA and Nissan Motor Co. into turmoil by arresting its chairman, Carlos Ghosn, on charges of financial wrongdoing without warning the French.