France Opposes Renault-Nissan Merger, French Prime Minister Valls Says
10 November 2015 - Automotive News
France, Renault's biggest shareholder, wants the alliance with Nissan Motor to continue and would oppose a merger of the French carmaker with its Japanese partner, Prime Minister Manuel Valls said.
"What we want is to conserve the alliance," Valls said Sunday on Europe 1 radio. "We don’t desire a merger."
He reiterated the government may cut its stake in Renault from 19.7 percent to about 15 percent.
The structure of the alliance has become a source of tension after the French government bought a bigger stake in Renault without warning Carlos Ghosn, who is CEO of both carmakers.
With backing from Renault’s board of directors, Ghosn is opposing the government’s attempt to make use of a new rule, the so-called Florange law, to get double voting rights as a long-term investor.
France vowed to sell back its additional 4.7 percent stake when market conditions have improved. It hasn’t given a more concrete time frame.
Renault owns a 43.4 percent controlling stake in Nissan, which holds a non-voting 15 percent of Renault.
Reuters reported this week that French economics minister Emmanuel Macron has been pressuring Ghosn to undertake a full Renault-Nissan merger on French government's terms.
The French government raised its Renault stake in April from 15 percent.
Nissan has expressed concern over the government's move and in September drew up confidential proposals to end Renault's control by acquiring a bigger stake in its French parent, Reuters reported.