Ghosn Mulling Changes to Nissan-Renault Structure, Nikkei Says

(Bloomberg) -- Carlos Ghosn confirmed for the first time that Nissan Motor Co. and Renault SA are reviewing the capital structure of their two-decade alliance, telling Japan’s Nikkei newspaper that he’s open to all options as the carmakers explore deeper ties.

Renault shares jumped as much as 1.6 percent in Paris after Ghosn, who is chairman of both automakers, said in an interview that he wants to find a solution by 2022. Bloomberg News reported in March that Nissan and Renault were in talks to merge under a single stock to position the automakers for vast changes in the car industry.

The executive was quoted as saying he wouldn’t discard any option and is not privileging any either, although some are more probable than others because of what he called sensitivity. A Nissan official confirmed Ghosn’s remarks to Bloomberg News.

Forging a single company from the French and Japanese brands would feed a growing trend toward consolidation in the global auto industry, which is grappling with an unprecedented shift toward electric and shared cars. Chinese auto entrepreneur Li Shufu, who owns Volvo Cars and just bought the largest stake in Daimler AG, on Sunday penned an op-ed calling on manufacturers to increase the use of shared platforms. Meanwhile, the pending exit of longtime Fiat Chrysler Automobiles chief Sergio Marchionne is expected to put the Italian American automaker in play.

Renault owns 43 percent of Nissan, while the Japanese company has a 15 percent stake in its French counterpart. While there is much to gain from unifying them, obstacles remain. The French government is the biggest shareholder in Renault, while Japan owns a significant holding in Nissan. Ghosn is driving the negotiations and would run the combined entity, Bloomberg News reported in March.

Renault shares were up slightly at 94.14 euros at 11:55 a.m. in Paris, after reaching 95.59 euros earlier. Nissan ended trading earlier down less than 1 percent in Tokyo.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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