According to persons that had access to the document, French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron has written a letter to Renault chief executive officer Carlos Ghosn.
The French state representative took the time to address the Renault chief in a move to defend the unexpected government share holding increase in the automaker, also trying to avert the claims it was trying to wreak havoc inside the Renault Nissan alliance. The sources, which remained anonymous, said the letter was dated April 21 and was seen by the carmaker’s board members – with some believing it would actually be a warning against possible retribution. “What we are seeing is a real but silent struggle,” commented for Reuters one of the persons. The government spokespersons declined to comment on the report, only confirming that Macron indeed addressed Ghosn.
Back on April 8, France announced it would temporarily increase its stake in Renault to 9.7 percent from the previous 15 percent holding in a bid to avert the company’s desire to safeguard itself from new French law that entrusted double voting power to longer-term investors in the country’s companies, unless the latter specifically opted out. The matter has been seen as highly sensitive for the Renault Nissan status quo – as the French government could have more influence over the Japanese partner as well. Renault has a 43.4 stake in Nissan, but the reciprocal 15 percent holding does not give the latter any voting rights. The matter has long been a subject of debate, with detractors inside the company and in Japan believing the French government would act in its own interest.