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Image: Air France-KLM

French, Dutch calm nerves over Air France-KLM

The two countries’ finance ministers met today to pledge to work together on the group’s strategy, on an equal basis.

The governments of France and the Netherlands have moved today to calm turbulence caused by a power struggle over the group Air France-KLM.

The two countries’ finance ministers met today to pledge to work together on an equal basis to improve operations.

A joint working group on Air France-KLM’s strategy will now aim to defuse a row over the Netherlands’ surprise purchase of a 14% stake in the group earlier this week. The French state owns 14.3%.

KLM is eight times more profitable than Air France, yet France has had the upper hand in managing the group since it was created as a mutually agreed merger in 2004.

Officials from the two countries will start a “work process” on Air France-KLM that will issue joint recommendations by the end of June, the news agency Reuters reports.

“France and the Netherlands want Air France-KLM to be the most competitive in the world,” French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said at a joint press conference this morning.

Corporate raider
Air France-KLM shares rose 4.4% on the news, after plummeting following the surprise Dutch acquisition.

The Dutch say that their share purchase demonstrates that they want more influence in the running of the airline. But earlier in the week, a French government official accused the Netherlands of “duplicity” and acting like a corporate raider, Bloomberg reports.

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