Economy, Auto

France Close to Returning to 15% Renault Stake

France Close to Returning to 15% Renault StakeFrance Close to Returning to 15% Renault Stake

The French state is close to reducing its stake in Renault back to 15% and wants the governance structure in its alliance with Nissan to remain unchanged, France’s Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron said.

Macron’s comments come after French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said on Sunday that the government did not want a merger between the two carmakers, Reuters reported.

“I’ve always said since the beginning I am in favor of preserving the governance the way it was established in 2002,” Macron said in an interview on Europe 1 radio. “It’s not a merger. That’s not on the agenda.”

Reuters reported last week that Macron had been pressuring alliance head Carlos Ghosn to undertake a full Renault-Nissan merger on the French government’s terms.

“We will return to 15%” once it can be done while preserving the interests of taxpayers, Macron said in the interview. “We won’t lose money on this transaction. We’re not far from being able to do it.”

Renault held an emergency board session on Friday amid an increasingly open conflict between Ghosn and Macron. The dispute was triggered in April this year by the government’s surprise move to raise its Renault stake to 19.7% to fend off a motion that would have ended double voting rights.

Nissan has responded by drawing up proposals to end Renault’s control by acquiring a bigger stake in the French company, Reuters reported in October.

Renault owns a 43.4% controlling stake in Nissan, which holds a non-voting 15% stake in Renault.

Macron said the Renault-Nissan alliance functioned “very well” and that it had been necessary to reinforce it.

He added that the state had confidence in Ghosn in his role of CEO of both carmakers.