Anger at Nissan over Renault's failure to back governance reforms

France ready to cut Renault stake to shore up Nissan ties: minister

Renault-Fiat Chrysler merger idea remains good opportunity, says French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire

The idea of a merger between Renault SA and Fiat Chrysler (FCA) remains a good opportunity, but nothing has changed in terms of the conditions the French government has set, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on June 10. "This is not a problem as long as, at the end of the process, we have a more solid auto sector and a more solid alliance between the two great vehicle manufacturers Nissan and Renault", Le Maire said.

Nissan is, therefore, poised to urge Renault to significantly cut the 43.4% stake, two people told Reuters.

Lawyers for indicted former Renault-Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn criticized a Renault audit that claims to have identified 11 million euros ($12.4 million) of misused funds during Ghosn's time at the helm of the Franco-Japanese auto alliance.

Saikawa's comments, which reflect differences with Renault, came after he expressed caution last week about a merger offer from Fiat Chrysler to Renault.

On May 27, FCA stunned the auto world with a proposed "merger of equals" with Renault that would - together with Renault's Japanese partners Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors - create a vehicle giant spanning the globe.

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But the deal collapsed suddenly on Thursday, with FCA laying the blame at Paris' door. The suspect expenses include air travel fees, gifts to non-profit organizations and "certain other expenses" incurred for Ghosn, Renault said.

But they also say Nissan has been hoping to get more say in the alliance because until recently it was more profitable than Renault. "If there are differences of opinion (with Renault), then I'd like for those to be discussed".

The relationship between Renault and Nissan has been strained by the fallout from the November arrest of Ghosn in Tokyo.

A Renault source said Senard's letter was motivated by concern about Renault's under-representation on the new Nissan board committees being introduced following the arrest of Ghosn, who is now awaiting trial and denies the financial misconduct charges against him.

"We will simply monitor to make sure, as the shareholder of reference, that things are done in the correct order, within a reasonable timeframe", Le Maire told AFP.

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