The French and Japanese alliance partners have started discussing a way to reshape their capital alliance strategy in a drive to counter the growing intrusion of the French government, claim the latest reports.
According to the Japanese Nikkei business daily for example, one of the options taken under consideration would be to have Renault divest some Nissan shares to fall below the 40 percent threshold – currently they own 43.4 percent – and under French law the Japanese partner’s holding in Renault would become an active voting stake. The source of the information was not traced in any way by the paper. Bloomberg meanwhile cited sources that have knowledge of the matter surrounding the same procedure to lower its stake in order for its Japanese partner to gain the voting rights. Nissan has a 15 percent stake in Renault but carries no voting rights because under French law the latter is considered the controlling partner.
Carlos Ghosn, chairman and chief executive officer of both automakers, is mulling a more balanced alliance. So far the 16-year-old partnership has been secured by Ghosn’s dual roles and the cross-shareholdings. But with the latter favoring Renault, “there is a logic for a re-balancing of the alliance,” comments Philippe Houchois, a London-based analyst at UBS Group. The move would also unveil a new step in the conflict started between Ghosn and the French government five months ago when the state lifted its stake in Renault to almost 20 percent without prior notice. The strategy was devised to ensure the success of a new loyalty-shareholder program, which doubles voting rights for long time investors and would lift France’s control power in the key automaker.
Via Automotive News Europe