Wednesday, 23 October, 2019

Nissan lashes out at Renault for stymying board reforms

France ready to cut Renault stake to shore up Nissan ties: minister French Government Open To Reducing Its Stake In Renault
Russell Knight | 12 June, 2019, 22:00

"This is not a problem as long as, at the end of the process, we have a more solid auto sector and a more solid alliance between the two great vehicle manufacturers Nissan and Renault", Le Maire said. "Nissan finds Renault's new stance on this matter most regrettable, as such a stance runs counter to the company's efforts to improve its corporate governance".

Renault is pushing for a full merger between the pair, but there is deep skepticism of the plan at Nissan.

Nissan and Renault have been partners for more than 20 years after former boss Carlos Ghosn stepped in to save the Japanese firm from the verge of bankruptcy by tying it to the stronger French manufacturer.

Saikawa said the proposed changes have already been discussed by Nissan's board, including members nominated by Renault. "As now proposed, this does not seem to be the case".

Le Maire and his Japanese counterpart Hiroshige Seko later issued a joint statement that "reaffirmed the strong support" of both governments for the Renault-Nissan alliance and urged both auto firms to work together, according to Jiji Press agency.

While Renault understands Nissan's desire to improve its governance, the so-called three board level committees system "should not serve as a tool directed or used against Nissan's largest shareholder", the letter said.

Renault said an internal audit with Nissan found $12.5 million in questionable personal expenses allegedly linked to Ghosn at their Dutch-based holding company.

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Nissan has said that the alleged misconduct was the result of governance failings, and that the proposed overhauls are necessary to ensure wrongdoing is not possible.

Meanwhile, Nissan is seizing on comments made by the finance minister of France, Renault's biggest shareholder, that his government is willing to reduce its stake to strengthen the alliance.

The rift could put further pressure on Nissan Chief Executive Hiroto Saikawa, who looks increasingly at odds with Renault.

A second proposal to help win Nissan's approval would see the Japanese automaker granted a call option to increase its 7.5% voting stake in the merged FCA Renault.

"Following extensive deliberation, the special committee delivered a series of recommendations".

Nissan wants to introduce several governance committees meant to improve oversight and, it says, prevent the financial misconduct allegedly committed by the alliance's former chief Carlos Ghosn, now awaiting trial in Tokyo.

Nissan also appears to have been largely left in the dark on the merger discussions between Renault and Fiat Chrysler, which had attempted to join forces to create the world's third-largest automaker before talks fell apart last week.

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