Sun, Apr 28, 2019 - Page 16 News List

Renault to restart push for a merger with Nissan Motor Co

Bloomberg

Snow rests on the Renault SA logo during a test at the Jules Verne climatic wind tunnel at the Scientific and Technical Center for Building laboratory in Nantes, France, on Friday.

Photo: Reuters

Barely three months into his tenure, Renault SA chairman Jean-Dominique Senard plans to propose merging the French automaker with alliance partner Nissan Motor Co under a holding company framework, people familiar with the matter said.

Each company would own an about 50 percent stake in the holding company and have equal board representation, one of the people said, asking not to be named as they were discussing confidential deliberations.

The entity would be headquartered outside France or Japan, possibly in Singapore, the person said.

“What we always said, and we still say the exact same thing, is that what we want is the alliance to be irreversible,” Renault chief financial officer Clotilde Delbos said on Friday on the company’s first-quarter conference call when asked about its plans.

“This is what we are pursuing collectively with Nissan,” Delbos said.

Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa rejected a request earlier this month by Senard to reconsider a merger, people familiar with the matter have said.

Representatives for Nissan and Renault declined to comment on the holding company proposal.

The aim of the structure is to cement the alliance and secure cost savings amid a sector downturn, the person said.

The proposal is one of several being discussed and Renault is seeking a plan that Nissan would support, they said.

Roughly equal ownership would potentially address concerns raised by Nissan, which resisted an effort by former chairman Carlos Ghosn to permanently unite the two automakers. Renault owns 43 percent of Nissan, while the Japanese automaker owns only 15 percent of its partner of two decades, and has no voting power.

Saikawa was opposed when Senard made an overture earlier this month, saying that the priority should be rebuilding Nissan, people familiar with the matter told reporters this week.

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