The French automaker has asked the state – its largest stakeholder – to retreat from its strategy to lift its voting power inside the company, claiming it would otherwise quickly unsettle the sensible power balance inside the Renault Nissan alliance.
The move comes from chief executive officer Carlos Ghosn and has been backed by the company’s board after an emergency gathering on Thursday, but it might also increase a crisis between the top manager and President Francois Hollande’s government as the two struggle over state control of the company. The country’s so-called Florange law introduced under Hollande sees long standing stake holders in French companies able to double their voting rights if the firms don’t explicitly opt out of if through a two-thirds majority vote. In order to avert such a move, the French state said on PAril 8 it had moved to lift its stake in Renault from 15 percent to 19.7 percent on a temporary basis.
A board statement following the emergency meeting called the Renault-Nissan alliance’s “survival and success” into question if the balance of power between the to automakers is not restored. Renault has a 43.4 holding in Nissan and the Japanese automaker only has a non-voting 15 percent stake in its French counterpart. According to an insider source, the meeting also had the board call France to revert its stake to the previous level by next year. Officials also warned the government board members that Nissan might actively fight the state’s intervention in Renault in the near future.