France will lower stake in Renault to 15% image

France has decided to reduce the stake it has in the French carmaker Renault from 19.7% to 15% and expressed its wish for the governance structure of the Renault-Nissan alliance to stay the same.

The Economy Minister of France, Emmanuel Macron, made the announcement after the French Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, said last week that the government is not fond of a merger between Renault and the Japanese carmaker Nissan. For an interview on Europe 1 radio, Macron reiterated that “I’ve always said since the beginning I’m in favor of preserving the governance the way it was established in 2002.”

Last week, Reuters said that Macron had asked Carlos Ghosn, head of the alliance, to take on a full merger between Renault and Nissan that respects the government’s terms. Renault then went into an emergency board session on Friday due to the conflict between Ghosn and Macron following the dispute triggered in April this year after the government increased its stake in Renault up to 19.7% and getting double voting rights. In response, Nissan drew up proposals to end Renault’s control by purchasing a bigger stake in the French carmaker.

At the moment, Renault owns 43.4% controlling stake in Nissan, while the Japanese automaker has a 15% stake in Renault and non-voting rights.

Macron stated in the same interview for Europe 1 that “We will return to 15 percent. We won’t lose money on this transaction. We’re not far from being able to do it.” The minister also said that the Renault-Nissan alliance is working very well at the moment and he wanted to add that the state does trust Ghosn as the CEO of both carmakers.