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Conflict Arises Between Nissan/Renault Alliance and French Government

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Carlos Ghosn

It seems that Nissan-Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn and the French government are not seeing eye to eye lately. It all started back in April, when France’s Economy Minister Emmanual Macron raised the government’s stake in Renault from 15 to 19.7%, which allowed the government to force a permanent doubling of its voting rights in the company’s decisions.

The Alliance was not pleased. Instead, Nissan and Ghosn are calling for deep changes to the existing alliance to create a better balance of power (and shareholdings—Renault currently owns 43.4% of Nissan and holds the casting vote in the Alliance’s Dutch BV management structure, while Nissan owns a non-voting 15% of Renault).

The plan to cancel out the French government’s sudden power by restoring voting rights to Nissan already has support from the Renault board. So now government officials are calling this move a “reversal of the balance of power within the alliance to the detriment of Renault” and privately criticizing the Renault board for undermining the company.

Ghosn doesn’t seem flustered, however. At a media event earlier this week, he said, “I’m not worried. We’ve faced challenges in the past but we’ve overcome them.” He later added, “All stakeholders want the alliance to be successful – we all agree on that goal, with no exception.”

If this conflict escalates, it could end up as a full-blown battle between Ghosn and the French government to keep out federal influences.

News Source: Reuters