Nis­san in­sists no Re­nault di­vorce

Business Day - - FRONT PAGE - Agency Staff Tokyo /AFP

Nis­san was “in no way” plan­ning to end its part­ner­ship with Re­nault, the Ja­panese car­maker said af­ter a re­port sug­gested a di­vorce was pos­si­ble in the wake of the Car­los Ghosn scan­dal.

Nis­san is “in no way ” plan­ning to end its part­ner­ship with Re­nault, the Ja­panese car­maker said af­ter a re­port sug­gested a di­vorce is pos­si­ble in the wake of the Car­los Ghosn scan­dal.

Bri­tain’s Fi­nan­cial Times, cit­ing “sev­eral peo­ple with knowl­edge of the mat­ter”, said se­nior ex­ec­u­tives at the scan­dal-hit com­pany are speed­ing up work on se­cret plans for a po­ten­tial part­ing of ways with Franch com­pany Re­nault.

But Nis­san firmly de­nied the claims. “Nis­san is in no way con­sid­er­ing dis­solv­ing the al­liance,” it said in a state­ment is­sued on Tues­day.

“The al­liance is the source of Nis­san’s com­pet­i­tive­ness,” the com­pany said, adding that it will look to con­tinue de­liv­er­ing “win-win re­sults for all mem­ber com­pa­nies”.

The part­ner­ship, which in­cludes Ja­pan’s Mit­subishi, has been trou­bled since the shock ar­rest of former chief Ghosn on charges of fi­nan­cial mis­con­duct.

Ghosn, who in De­cem­ber jumped bail in Ja­pan and fled to Le­banon, claims the charges against him were cooked up by dis­grun­tled Nis­san ex­ec­u­tives hop­ing to block his plans to more closely in­te­grate the car­maker with Re­nault.

At a news con­fer­ence in Le­banon, he said the al­liance is on the rocks and di­rec­tion­less.

The al­liance’s new chief,

Jean-Do­minique Se­nard, ear­lier hit back at the re­ports of a planned split, telling Bel­gian daily L’Echo the claims had “no con­nec­tion to the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion of the al­liance”.

“The Re­nault-Nis­san al­liance is not dead! Soon we will show you why,” he said in an in­ter­view pub­lished on Tues­day.

“I ask my­self, where does this sort of in­for­ma­tion come from? I am not sure it comes from a place of good­will,” Se­nard said.

At the close on the Tokyo mar­ket, Nis­san dropped 2.96% to ¥618 de­spite the firm com­pany de­nial.

The 20-year part­ner­ship be­tween Nis­san and Re­nault, whose al­liance is based on cross-share­hold­ings with­out a joint struc­ture, has been badly shaken by the Ghosn scan­dal.

But Se­nard said the al­liance is “nowhere near” the point of col­lapse and in­sisted its lead­ers are “recre­at­ing its orig­i­nal spirit” and plan­ning fu­ture in­vest­ments.

A source close to Nis­san said that the leaks prob­a­bly came from “a few dis­grun­tled souls” in­side the com­pany who wanted to “vent their frus­tra­tion”, though he added that re­build­ing trust be­tween the two firms “will take time”.

2.96% The drop in Nis­san’s share price af­ter re­ports claim­ing a split with Re­nault is im­mi­nent

/Reuters /Fran­cois Lenoir

Show must go on: A Re­nault Clio E-Tech Hy­brid car on dis­play at the Brus­sels Mo­tor Show in Bel­gium last week.

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