France Sees 'No Reason' for Nissan Votes in Renault
30 April 2015 - Automotive News
The French government sees no reason to allow Nissan to reactivate the voting rights on its 15% stake in Renault, Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron said.
"This is absolutely not on the agenda," Macron told reporters in Strasbourg, France, on Tuesday when asked whether Nissan's voting rights might be restored.
"I see no reason why at this stage - we are within the established balance of the alliance," he said.
Macron is publicly at odds with Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn over a surprise government move to increase its voting weight in Renault.
Macron has temporarily increased the state holding from 15% to 19.7% to ensure that the April 30 shareholder meeting adopts double-voting rules. That would bring the government's voting weight close to a blocking minority, even after the additional shares are re-sold.
Renault currently owns 43.4 % of Nissan, which it rescued from near-bankruptcy in 1999. Because it is deemed to be under Renault control, Nissan cannot vote its 15% reciprocal stake in its French parent.
But Nissan representatives on the Renault board warned on April 16 that any move by France to increase its long-term influence at Renault would force the Japanese carmaker to take similar steps, sources have told Reuters.
Measures considered in the past to "rebalance" the partnership have included a Nissan capital increase or the reduction of Renault's stake below 40%. Either move could reactivate Nissan's voting rights in Renault.