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TOKYO, Jan 21 (Reuters) - Nissan CEO Hirota Saikawa told reporters on Monday that he had not heard directly about a reported French proposal to integrate Nissan’s management with France’s Renault, adding that it was not the stage to discuss revising their capital ties.
The Nikkei newspaper reported on Sunday that a French government delegation had informed Tokyo that it would seek an integration of Renault SA and Nissan, most likely under the umbrella of a single holding company.
“Since I have not heard this directly, I cannot comment,” Saikawa told reporters as he left his residence.
Asked about future capital ties, he said: “We are not at the stage for such discussions.”
Japanese public broadcaster NHK quoted French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire as telling journalists that such an integration proposal was “not on the table now”.
Reports of closer integration come as ousted Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn remains in detention following his Nov. 19 arrest and subsequent charges of financial misconduct, which he has denied.
Ghosn has asked a Tokyo District Court for the second time to grant him bail after a request last week was denied, citing flight risk and concerns about evidence tampering. A hearing is scheduled for Monday in Tokyo.
Ghosn has offered to post stock he owns in the automaker as collateral, surrender his passports and submit to electronic tracking as part of a renewed effort to persuade a Tokyo court to grant him bail while he awaits trial on charges of financial misconduct, a spokeswoman for the car executive said. Any bail must be paid in cash.
Ghosn spearheaded Nissan’s turnaround two decades ago, and his arrest has jolted the auto industry, while muddying the outlook for Nissan’s three-way alliance with Renault and Mitsubishi Motors Corp.
Renault, which dominates the partnership through its 43.4 percent stake in Nissan, is expected to meet within days to consider potential candidates to replace Ghosn as chief executive officer and chairman.
Reporting by Kwiyeon Ha; Writing by Linda Sieg; Editing by Stephen Coates