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France Trims Renault Stake Back to Pre-Showdown Level
France Trims Renault Stake Back to Pre-Showdown Level

France Trims Renault Stake Back to Pre-Showdown Level

France Trims Renault Stake Back to Pre-Showdown Level

The French government has begun the sale of 4.73% of carmaker Renault, paring its holding back to the 15% that preceded a 2015 power struggle with Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn and removing a residual irritant in their relationship.
The APE state holdings agency said in a statement that it was placing 14 million Renault shares with investors in an accelerated book-building. Renault itself will take 10% of the shares for stock awards to current and former employees, Reuters reported.
The sale may help smooth long-standing tensions between Ghosn, who also heads alliance partner Nissan as chairman, and French President Emmanuel Macron’s government.
Renault’s relations with its largest shareholder deteriorated in April 2015 when Macron, then economy minister, abruptly raised the state’s holding in a shareholder vote to almost 20% to secure double voting rights, a move opposed by Ghosn.
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said in a statement the sale was worth about 1.2 billion euro. He said that represented a 55 million euro gain on when the shares were bought two years ago.
The share sale will trim the government’s stake to 15.01% - fulfilling its promise made in April 2015 that the state’s holding would fall back to its historic level.
That promise and expectations of the share sale have weighed on Renault’s stock price, which is up just 2.5% this year, underperforming the broader sector’s .SXAP 15.8% gain.
While drawing a line under the 2015 hostilities, the divestment does little to resolve a sense of strategic stalemate over the future shape of Renault, Nissan and their new alliance partner Mitsubishi.

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