France Opposes Renault-Nissan Merger, Says Keep Alliance As Is

  • Prime Minister Valls says state may cut stake back from 19.7%
  • Alliance has raised some tension between Renault and France

France, Renault SA’s biggest shareholder, wants the alliance with Nissan Motor Co. to continue and would oppose a merger of the French carmaker with its Japanese partner, Prime Minister Manuel Valls said.

“What we want is to conserve the alliance,” Valls said Sunday on Europe 1 radio. “We don’t desire a merger.”

There isn’t any “agitation” around the alliance and France has “trust” in the executives of Renault and Nissan, Valls said. He reiterated the government may cut its stake in Renault from 19.7 percent to about 15 percent.

The structure of the alliance has become a source of tension after the French government bought a bigger stake in Renault without warning Carlos Ghosn, who’s CEO of both carmakers. With backing from Renault’s board of directors, Ghosn is opposing the government’s attempt to make use of a new rule, the so-called Florange law, to get double voting rights as a long-term investor.

France vowed to sell back its additional 4.7 percent stake when market conditions have improved. It hasn’t given a more concrete time frame.

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