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Renault-Nissan merger ‘not on the table’: French minister

Ghosn declared his love for Nissan at a dramatic court appearance

CAIRO, Egypt, Jan 20 – French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire on Sunday dismissed talk of a merger between Renault and Nissan, despite Japanese media reports that France was pushing for it.

Le Maire’s remarks were made during his visit to Cairo.

Earlier on Sunday, Japanese media said France wants a merger between Renault and Nissan following the arrest of former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn on charges of financial misconduct.

“The subject is not on the table today. What is on the table today is the governance of Renault,” he told journalists during a visit to Cairo.

“The most important thing for us is to have solid, stable, sustainable governance for Renault,” said Le Maire.

This should be put in place by the company’s board of directors in the coming days, he added.

The French government is the biggest shareholder in Renault with a stake of more than 15 percent, while Renault owns 43.4 percent of the Japanese carmaker Nissan with voting rights.

The Tokyo-based Kyodo News reported that the merger request was made by a delegation including Martin Vial – a Renault director designated by the French government — during talks with Japanese officials in Tokyo.

Kyodo said a merger between the two was favoured by French President Emmanuel Macron.

Japanese business daily Nikkei had also reported the merger request by a French delegation, saying Nissan had been opposed to giving Paris greater sway over the Japanese carmaker.

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According to Nikkei, the delegation also said Renault wants to name Nissan’s next chairman – a post that has remained vacant since Ghosn was ousted on his arrest in November.

In comments published Sunday Journal du Dimanche (JDD) newspaper, Le Maire had said that a change in cross-shareholdings between Renault and Nissan “is not on the table”.

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