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Macron: No Need for France to Reduce Renault Stake

French President Emmanuel Macron has raised new concerns about the future of the Renault-Nissan alliance by declaring there is no need for France to reduce its 15% stake in Renault.
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French President Emmanuel Macron has raised new concerns about the future of the Renault-Nissan alliance by declaring there is no need for France to reduce its 15% stake in Renault.

Nissan has been signaling for months that a more balanced cross-ownership structure between the two carmakers may be the only way to save their 20-year-old partnership.

Two weeks ago Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said France would be open to sell off its Renault shares if doing so would restore peace in the troubled partnership. Strains intensified after Carlos Ghosn, architect of the alliance and chairman of both companies at the time, was arrested and charged with financial crimes at Nissan.

But yesterday Macron shrugged off Nissan’s concerns. “Nothing in this situation,” he told reporters, “justifies changing the cross shareholdings, the rules of governance and the state’s shareholding in Renault, which has nothing to do with Nissan.”

Nissan has complained for more than three years that France wields too much power over the alliance. Last year, Nissan spent much of the year discounting the merits of a rumored merger with Renault, particularly if France refused to sell its shares in the French carmaker.

In April, Nissan again rebuffed Renault’s merger overtures, this time with the help of the Japanese government.

Renault holds a 43% voting stake in Renault, and Nissan owns a 15% nonvoting stake in Renault. The French state has used its holding to influence the alliance’s business as they affect French jobs. Three weeks ago Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV withdrew an offer to merge with Renault, citing the government’s demands to alter terms of the deal.

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