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Nissan CEO: 'No reason' to change Renault deal despite France conflict

AFP , Monday 18 May 2015
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The head of Renault-Nissan on Monday said there was "no reason" to change a longstanding partnership between the two companies after the French government's controversial move to hike its stake in Renault.

Carlos Ghosn's comments came after Paris gave itself and other long-term shareholders more power in Renault's affairs by doubling the number of votes they get for each share.

The plan, which Renault opposed, was voted through at a shareholders meeting last month, and aggravated long-simmering questions about whether Renault and Nissan should change their ownership stakes in each other.

But on Monday Ghosn said: "The capital structure that we have between Renault and Nissan is very stable.

"There is a clear separation between the spirit of the partnership and the capital structure. This is the strength, the power of the alliance... There is no reason to change it now."

Under an agreement struck in 1999 Renault owns about 43 percent of Nissan, which holds about 15 percent of the French's automaker's shares, but does not have voting rights.

Ghosn was tapped by the French auto giant to rescue Nissan, which was on the verge of bankruptcy in the late 1990s.

But the pair's fortunes have changed, with Nissan now accounting for about two-thirds of the their combined 8.0 million vehicle sales annually and contributing the bulk of the profits.

"Sixteen years after it is still a partnership independent of who owns what," Ghosn said.

"The reason to change must be in line with strategy, you need to have a strong reason.

"You don't touch this kind of structure easily, these are very sensitive topics."

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