Ghosn: Renault and Nissan are ready to forge closer capital ties if France sells stake

by SpeedLux
Carlos Ghosn Renault-Nissan

Renault and alliance partner Nissan are ready to forge closer capital ties however will only do so if France sells its Renault stake, CEO Carlos Ghosn stated.

The remarks are likely to deepen a power battle that spilled into public view in April 2015 when the government boosted its stake in the French automaker to almost 20 percent from 15 percent, with little caution to Ghosn or the board.

Ghosn, the CEO of both automakers, stated the resulting stand-off over government voting rights had convinced the Japanese automaker that no more consolidation was possible while France still had hold of Renault shares.

“Following the soap opera of double voting rights and the discussion with the French state, Nissan has stated really clearly … that it will not accept any proceed capital structure as long as the French state remains a shareholder,” Ghosn informed.

The 18-year-old alliance is bound by cross shareholdings however Renault and Nissan stay separate companies with unique boards and executive groups.

“The day the French state chooses to get out, whatever is open, and I can inform you it won’t take too much time,” Ghosn stated. “However as long as they remain, and they want to continue to be a shareholder of Renault, the alliance will continue to move as it is.”

The government’s share purchase in 2015, explained at the time as temporary, made it possible for ministers to block a proposed opt-out from a law granting double voting rights to the state and other long-lasting shareholders. It unleashed a boadroom crisis that resulted in new Renault-Nissan shareholder pacts at the end of that year.

Tensions resurfaced previous month following a scathing Renault submission to a French formal report. The automaker accused France of acting upon insider data when it bought the extra shares. The state, Renault’s most significant investor, now holds 19.74 percent and 2 board seats.

Martin Vial, head of the APE state shareholdings firm, demanded a retraction. “These are false accusations and they will have to be rectified,” he informed BFM radio on Wednesday.

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