The French government is pressuring Carlos Ghosn to attempt a full merger with Renault’s partner Nissan.
Some sources are implying that the French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron is pressuring Renault’s CEO Carlos Ghosn to force a full merger with Nissan on the government’s terms. These news didn’t come as a total surprise as the French government raised its Renault stake in April to secure double voting rights, wanted to be sure that it is still in control of the alliance. Minister Macron has been urging the Renault-Nissan CEO for months to set up a joint working group with his officials to explore merger scenarios that would tie Renault to its more profitable partner and safeguard French plants and jobs. In a riposte to Macron, Nissan has proposed ending French control by acquiring a bigger Renault stake to establish a better balanced reciprocal holding of 25-35 percent, sources have told Reuters.
The boardroom battle has exposed rival visions for the future of Renault-Nissan, a 16-year-old industrial pairing held together by crossed shareholdings. Renault is controlling Nissan by owning a 43,4 percent stake in the Japanese company, which holds only 15 percent of its French “partner” with non-voting rights. Renault has called an emergency board meeting later this week, government and company sources said, amid signs the carmakers may begin adjusting the shareholdings within days or weeks. Hiroto Saikawa, Ghosn’s second-in-command at Nissan, said that increased French government influence on Renault is a concern for the Japanese side. Spokespersons for Renault-Nissan and the French government declined to comment on the companies’ plans or the discussions between Ghosn and Macron.