Renault: The French State says it is Ready to Reduce its Share in the Capital

Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire has spoken from Japan, two days after the failure of negotiations between Renault and competitor Fiat Chrysler

The French manufacturer, Renault could see the state lower its stake in the capital. and could yield 15%, according to the Minister of Economy Bruno Le Maire.

The priority is to “consolidate the alliance” Renault-Nissan before considering a rapprochement with another manufacturer, said Saturday the French Minister of Economy after the failure of negotiations between the diamond group and competitor Fiat Chrysler.

In this perspective, the state is ready to “reduce its share” by 15% in Renault capital, a subject of friction with Nissan, said Bruno Le Maire , who spoke in an interview with AFP in the margins of the G20 Finance in Fukuoka, in southwestern Japan.

To justify the withdrawal of its offer, the Italian-American manufacturer Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) had invoked Thursday “requirements” of the Ministry and “political conditions” in France.

The French government has assured that the discussions could not succeed for lack of guarantees on the preservation of the alliance with Nissan, partner of Renault for 20 years.

Saturday, Mr. Mayor gave further explanation.

“Let’s put things back in the right order. In the right order, it means first the consolidation of the alliance, and then the consolidation (with other partners), and not one before the other, because otherwise you risk that everything collapses like a house of cards.”

Read also: Renault-Fiat merger project: Bruno Le Maire does not want any factory closure in France

“Strengthen the Renault-Nissan alliance”

The Mayor did not seem to exclude the possibility of a resumption of negotiations with FCA. “We are open to all possibilities of consolidation provided that all partners agree,” he said.

But “on topics that engage hundreds of thousands of jobs, we must take his time, we will not act in haste,” said the minister. And to insist: “Let’s not launch operations in a rickety and hasty way.”

How to strengthen the Renault-Nissan alliance? For a merger, “I do not believe at all the moment,” he said, while Nissan has recently rejected a proposal. Rather, he says, it is about governance and cross-shareholdings.

Renault currently holds 43% of Nissan

“We can reduce the share of the state in the capital” of Renault, said the minister. “This is not a problem as long as we have a stronger alliance between the two major car manufacturers, Renault and Nissan.”

Relations between the two partners have deteriorated sharply since the case of alleged malpractices of the builder of the Franco-Japanese partnership, Carlos Ghosn. And the fact that Renault did not warn his Japanese ally of the discussions with FCA did not help matters.

Renault currently owns 43% of Nissan. The Japanese manufacturer owns 15% of Renault, without voting rights, and 34% of Mitsubishi Motors.

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