Renault, Nissan Deny Joint Holding Company Being Planned

Renault SA CEO Carlos Ghosn
Carlos Ghosn, chief executive officer of Renault SA. Photographer: Antoine Antoniol/Bloomberg

Renault SA and Nissan Motor Co. aren’t planning to form a joint holding company and described a report that it was planning such a move as a “misinterpretation” of comments by Carlos Ghosn, chief executive officer of both carmakers.

Japan’s Nikkei newspaper said today that the creation of a holding company representing both automakers, along with their affiliates in Russia and in other markets, would take place within two to three years, citing an interview with Ghosn.

The article was “a misinterpretation of a wide-ranging interview in which Mr. Ghosn said that the corporate structure of the Renault-Nissan Alliance would remain dynamic,” the companies said in a statement from spokeswoman Rachel Konrad. “There are no plans to create a holding company, and in fact Mr. Ghosn did not say that Renault and Nissan are ‘leaning toward establishing a holding company,’" the statement said.

Renault, France’s second-largest automaker, is the biggest stakeholder in Nissan, owning 43.4 percent of the Yokohama-based company. While the two companies share platforms and components, they’ve maintained separate operations since their alliance began in 1999.

Evolving Alliance

Ghosn "frequently stated to the media, investors and others that the corporate structure of the Renault-Nissan Alliance would continue to evolve -- as it has for the past 12 years,” the companies said today.

Shares in Nissan rose 0.7 percent to 736 yen as of 10:08 a.m. in Tokyo. The stock has declined 4.8 percent in 2011. Renault rose 0.9 percent to 38.73 euros in Paris trading yesterday.

Separately, the head of Nissan’s operations in Mexico said in an interview yesterday the company’s two plants there may experience production interruptions in April and May as a result of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan that have disrupted parts supplies.

In Japan, Nissan said it expects to resume “normal” production operations at all factories there on April 11 using parts delivered by suppliers and not inventories. Its Iwaki engine plant, which was partially damaged by the quake, will resume mid-April.

The company estimates it has lost about 55,000 units of vehicle production this month in Japan, after the magnitude-9 quake that’s left more than 27,000 dead or missing since it struck on March 11.

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