Renault warns it'll block Nissan's governance reshuffle, says report


Strains within the alliance between Renault and Nissan increased today as the Japanese vehicle maker criticised its French partner for failing to back its governance reforms.

'Most regrettable' The rift between the two partners, already stressed by the Carlos Ghosn affair, lurched into deeper crisis on Saturday when Renault Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard sent a letter to Nissan Chief Executive Officer Hiroto Saikawa, threatening to block the Japanese company's plan to overhaul its troubled corporate governance.

The reported move by Renault, which is Nissan's largest shareholder, is likely to further strain ties between the two firms after the shock arrest of former boss Carlos Ghosn.

The two companies have struggled to fix their relationship after Ghosn's arrest exposed simmering tensions, including Nissan's long-held concerns about the alliance's capital structure.

The audit was jointly commissioned with Nissan to look into governance and compliance issues at Renault-Nissan BV, or RNBV, their Netherlands-based joint venture entity. His visit comes amid strained ties between Renault and its partner, Nissan Motor.

A spokesman for Renault contacted by AFP had no comment.

The move would mean the proposed changes fall short of the two-thirds majority needed to pass.

The two automakers are looking for ways to get an approval from Nissan, Reuters added.

The exact nature of Renault's demand was unclear, but the company, which owns 43% of Nissan, may have wanted more representation on the committees being set up to strengthen corporate governance. "As now proposed, this does not seem to be the case".

Allegedly, Renault won't have its say on the matter because the selection of the committee members does not reflect what the French want.

But he also said Renault should focus on shoring up its relationship with Nissan before pursuing mergers with other firms.

Separately, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire and Hiroshige Seko, Japan's minister for economy, trade and industry, exchanged views Monday about the Renault and Nissan alliance, and both nations reaffirmed their support for the alliance as "winning cooperation", according to the Japanese government.

Nissan confirmed that it had received a letter from Renault in which the French company indicated that it would abstain from voting on Nissan's corporate-governance reform. The Japanese government has also played its part - including by intervening to defend Nissan's independence from Renault previous year.