Published: Wed, June 12, 2019
Economy | By

France plays down selling Renault stake after Japan visit

France plays down selling Renault stake after Japan visit

Renault and its Japanese partner Nissan Motor led an audit at their jointly-owned RNBV subsidiary which confirmed the existence of financial "deficiencies", Renault said June 4, in particular regarding 11 million euros (US$12.5 million) of expenses most of which were linked to Ghosn.

"Overall it is a mess, and just makes a tricky situation worse", said Janet Lewis, an analyst at Macquarie Capital in Tokyo.

"A merger with FCA remains a attractive opportunity, because there's access to the American market and because for FCA there's access to the electric technologies they need", Le Maire said Monday.

Senard, who was brought in by the French government to smooth the relationship with Nissan, has instead pressed Nissan for a merger it didn't want, then pursued the mega-deal with Fiat Chrysler.

"Nissan finds Renault's new stance on this matter most regrettable, as such a stance runs counter to the company's efforts to improve its corporate governance", the statement added.

However, he insisted it was merely a second step, the first being to "reinforce the alliance" with Nissan. A spokesman for Nissan could not be reached after hours in Japan.

But Renault reportedly fears the overhaul will reduce its influence in Nissan, and ties between the partners have already frayed since Ghosn's arrest and scepticism at the Japanese automaker after proposed further integration in the partnership. Nissan is, therefore, poised to urge Renault to significantly cut the 43.4 per cent stake, two people told Reuters.

The audit was jointly commissioned with Nissan to look into governance and compliance issues at Renault-Nissan BV, or RNBV, their Netherlands-based joint venture entity.

Ghosn was arrested in November and again in April in Japan over allegations of financial misconduct.

Nissan President and CEO Hiroto Saikawa is under pressure to improve ties between the companies. Le Maire said Sunday that the government's responsibility was to secure jobs as well as industrial and research sites.

Nissan also appears to have been largely left in the dark on the merger discussions between Renault and Fiat Chrysler, which had attempted to join forces to create the world's third-largest automaker before talks fell apart last week. "Perhaps this deal was doomed from the start. This applies to corporations as well as politicians and individuals".

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