Renault-Nissan makes deal to defuse tension with French government

11th December 2015, Comments 0 comments

Renault said on Friday that it had reached an agreement with its alliance partner Nissan and the French government to defuse tensions sparked by France raising its stake in the automaker.

The agreement, dubbed "alliance stability covenant", caps the government's ability to interfere in the affairs of the Renault-Nissan alliance in return for Nissan's stock in Renault remaining without voting rights.

The French state raised its stake in Renault to 19.7 percent this year, disturbing the fragile balance between the two companies and angering Renault-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn.

That bolstered Paris' voting rights, effectively denying the Japanese company a say in how the business is operated.

"There is the strong will to put all this behind us," Ghosn said after a board meeting Friday which approved the deal.

Under the alliance agreement struck in 1999, Renault owns about 43 percent of Nissan. The latter in turn holds about 15 percent of the French automaker's shares, but without voting rights.

Nissan reportedly wanted the French government to cut its Renault stake back to its previous level and had threatened to raise its own stake in Renault to reassert its influence if France did not budge.

But instead, the French government has now agreed to refrain from using its newly-won voting rights power, except in "exceptional circumstances", Renault said, calling the debate leading up to the deal "fruitful".

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© 2015 AFP

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