Automobile manufacturers Renault, Nissan to make equal cross-share


Nissan and Renault have agreed to balance the shares they hold with each other, both sides said on Monday, resolving a source of conflict in the Japan-France auto alliance.

Until now, the Renault Group has held a 43.4% stake in Nissan Motor Co., potentially giving the group a greater say in how the Japanese automaker operates. . It will transfer shares equivalent to 28.4% of shares to a French trust so that each will hold 15% of the other’s shares, according to the companies.

The disparity between holdings has been a source of friction, especially after Nissan’s profit was much higher than that of Renault.

The deal on the change is still being finalized and requires board approval from both companies.

The companies said shares in the French trust could eventually be sold but did not tell who or how. It said the sale would be made according to a “coordinated and orderly process” if a deal was commercially meaningful to the Renault Group and there was no deadline.

Until then, voting rights will be “nulled” on most management decisions, but economic rights, such as dividends, will continue to belong to Renault, the companies said.

Renault’s largest shareholder is the French government. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida met with French President Emmanuel Macron earlier this month.

The alliance has experienced ups and downs since it began in 1999, when Renault sent one of its executives, Carlos Ghosn, to the then struggling Nissan to lead a change. . Ghosn first served as Nissan’s chief executive officer and then chairman of the company before he was arrested in late 2018 on multiple financial misconduct charges.

The alliance, which includes smaller Japanese automaker Mitsubishi Motor Corp. and still one of the world’s leading auto groups, was poised to put the Ghosn scandal behind it.

The charges against Ghosn include underreported income, use of investment funds for personal gain, and illegal use of company expenses, including overseas housing and yachting. Ghosn said he is innocent of all charges. He was released on bail at the end of 2019 and is currently in Lebanon, which does not have an extradition treaty with Japan.

The balance of cross-ownerships has been speculated for some time.

The companies called the move “an important milestone.”

“The ambition is to strengthen the alliance relationship and maximize value creation for all stakeholders,” said Nissan, based in the port city of Yokohama.

The deal calls for Nissan to invest in Ampere, an electric vehicle and software company founded by Renault. Details of the investment were not disclosed. The companies will also work together on marketing, media and technology in Latin America, India and Europe, they said.

Nissan makes the Leaf electric car and Infiniti luxury cars.

The announcement highlights automakers’ efforts to work together to navigate the series of changes taking place in a highly competitive industry. With growing concerns about climate change, the global market is pushing for electric vehicles and other cleaner modes of transportation.

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