The governments of France and the Netherlands have agreed to work together on the development strategy of the group Air France-KLM, a major shareholder which unexpectedly became the Dutch state. On Friday, March 1, in Paris the situation of conflict, the French Minister of economy and Finance Bruno Le Mer discussed with the Minister of Finance of the Netherlands Wopke Jugstroy. The Ministers agreed to establish a joint working group to discuss the development strategy of the Franco-Dutch Alliance of air carriers.
Relations between the two countries deteriorated after the February 27, it became known about purchase by the government of the Netherlands 14% of the shares of Air France-KLM. This news came as a surprise to the markets and the government of France, which until now has been a leading shareholder of the group, holding a package of 14.3% of the shares. Suddenly, the Dutch government has not just entered the capital of Air France-KLM, but I bought a pack, almost equivalent French. In Paris called these actions “hostile” and the President of France Emmanuel macron demanded that the Dutch government “to explain their intentions.”
On Friday after talks in Paris, the Dutch Minister of Finance Wopke Hoekstra said: “I am aware that we entered the capital not too common way, but were guided by good intentions”. His French counterpart Bruno Le Mer said: “France and the Netherlands — European partners and friends, today we want to open a new page in the history of Air France-KLM”.
The Ministers announced the establishment of an intergovernmental working group to discuss the development strategy of Air France-KLM, capital structure, principles of formation of the Board of Directors and management of Alliance airlines. Its findings, the working group will present in June.
French Air France and Dutch KLM merged in 2004. They have a common strategic management, but each company is independent in its commercial policy and the organization of work. The Alliance Air France is a senior partner with a turnover of 16 billion euros compared to 11 billion from KLM. However, the financial results of the Dutch company is now much better than the French. Last year, KLM’s operating profit was 9.8 percent, Air France — only 1.7%.
In the Netherlands expressed dissatisfaction with this significant imbalance, and feared plans for further integration of the two companies. The Dutch government is also worried about the future of Amsterdam airport and save it as one of the leading European transportation hubs.