Carmaker Peugeot in talks to sell financing arm Banque PSA to Santander — report

French carmaker PSA Peugeot Citroen SA (EPA:UG) is holding preliminary talks to shed part of its auto consumer-credit unit Banque PSA Finance to Spanish lender Banco Santander SA (MCE:SAN), the Wall Street Journal cited sources as saying.

The automobiles manufacturer wants to unload part of the banking business in an effort to eliminate reliance on a EUR7bn (USD9.2bn) package of credit guarantees that could be regarded as unjustified state aid. The European Commission is yet to rule on the state guarantees, but officials at Peugeot and the French government are confident that the package would be approved, the paper said.

As for the negotiations with Banco Santander, Peugeot may transfer half of Banque PSA Finance to the Spanish lender, but there are other options as well, the report said. Such a transaction would help Santander strengthen its own consumer credit unit.

The paper said it failed to get comment from Santander and Peugeot.

Peugeot Citroen in exclusive talks to sell GEFCO stake to Russian Railways

French automaker PSA Peugeot Citroen said on Thursday that it had started exclusive negotiations to offload a 75% stake in its logistics arm GEFCO to Russian railway operator JSC Russian Railways, under a strategic partnership at GEFCO.

Russian Railways will pay EUR800m (USD1.04bn) for the stake, which will be sold after the unit pays to PSA Peugeot Citroen a special dividend of EUR100m.

As a result of the transaction, GEFCO will be able to achieve greater business diversification and raise its turnover, PSA Peugeot Citroen noted. The move will spur GEFCO’s growth in eastern and central Europe, especially in Russia, and will back its expansion plan for China, India and Latin America, the seller said. The unit’s revenue came in at EUR1.88bn in the first half of this year.

PSA Peugeot Citroen said that it and the logistics subsidiary would begin information and consultation procedures with their works councils on the deal, which will also need antitrust green light.

GEFCO’s headquarters in France as well as its management team will be retained. Luc Nadal will remain at the helm of the company as president.

PSA Peugeot Citroen plunged into a EUR819m net loss, or EUR2.73 per share, between January and June 2012 from a net profit of EUR806m, or EUR3.55 apiece, in the same period of last year.  Its revenues slipped 5.1% to EUR29.55bn.