April 16, 2018 / 10:49 AM / a year ago

Renault-Nissan's Ghosn mulls review of capital ties: Nikkei

Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of Renault, attends the French carmaker Renault's 2017 annual results presentation at their headquarters in Boulogne-Billancourt, near Paris, France, February 16, 2018. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

TOKYO (Reuters) - Carlos Ghosn, head of the automaking alliance between Nissan Motor Co (7201.T) and Renault SA (RENA.PA), is considering a review of the capital ties between the two companies, Japan’s Nikkei business daily reported on Monday.

Ghosn, who also serves as chief executive of Renault, said in an interview with the newspaper that it was necessary “to consider the views of all interested parties” in reviewing the two firms’ cross-shareholding structure, adding that he would implement a new framework by 2022 when his term ends.

His comments follow a Reuters report last month that France’s Renault and Nissan were discussing a deal that would see the Japanese automaker acquire much of the French government’s 15 percent Renault holding, as a prelude to a merger.

“We are openly considering all options,” the Nikkei quoted Ghosn as saying, adding that this included a review of the group’s capital structure.

Nissan was not immediately available for comment.

The Renault-Nissan alliance, underpinned by cross-shareholdings, has wrestled intermittently since its 1999 inception with plans for full mergers that have foundered on objections from France, Renault’s biggest shareholder.

But with the alliance’s main architect Ghosn beginning his final term as Renault CEO, the government has been pressing for a tie-up to secure the future of Renault-Nissan, the world’s largest carmaking group by sales last year.

Renault holds 43.4 percent of Nissan but agreed to limit formal control of its larger partner in a 2015 shareholder pact that defused a boardroom standoff with the French government. Nissan currently owns a 15 percent of Renault, but no voting rights.

The Japanese automaker also owns a 34 percent controlling stake in Mitsubishi Motors Corp. (7211.T).

Reporting by Naomi Tajitsu

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