France Might Consider Changes in Renault-Nissan Alliance
The French government says it might be willing to support changes in cross-ownership of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance after all.
In June, President Emmanuel Macron declared that “nothing justifies” any modification to the equity arrangement. France owns 15% of Renault, which holds a 43% voting stake in Nissan. Nissan has a nonvoting 15% share in Renault and, since September 2017, a controlling 34% stake in Mitsubishi.
Nissan has been pushing for several year to rebalance the equity structure of its 20-year-old alliance with Renault. Nissan also has pressed to have France sell off its stake in Renault.
Martin Vial, who heads the French government’s shareholding agency, now says the state would consider equity adjustments—if the partnership can deliver greater value. “The priority is synergies and industrial cooperation,” Vial tells France’s Radio Classique.
The future of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance was clouded by last November’s arrest of Carlos Ghosn. At the time, he was chairman of all three carmakers and the entity that manages the alliance itself. He awaits trial next year in Japan on charges of financial wrongdoing at Nissan.
The partnership also was shaken by an offer in May by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to merge with Renault. The talks collapsed in June because of France’s meddling in the negotiations and Nissan’s refusal to back the deal pending an evaluation of a merger’s impact on the alliance.
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