Nissan denies reported plans to split with Renault

The 20-year partnership between Nissan and Renault has been badly shaken by the Carlos Ghosn scandal. (AFP)
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Updated 14 January 2020

Nissan denies reported plans to split with Renault

  • Report: Nissan senior executives speeding up work on secret plans for a potential parting of ways with France’s Renault
  • ‘Nissan is in no way considering dissolving the alliance’

TOKYO: Japanese auto giant Nissan is “in no way” planning to end its partnership with Renault, the Japanese automaker insisted Tuesday after a report suggested a divorce was possible in the wake of the Carlos Ghosn scandal.
Britain’s Financial Times, citing “several people with knowledge of the matter,” said Monday that said senior executives at the scandal-hit firm were speeding up work on secret plans for a potential parting of ways with France’s Renault.
But in a statement, Nissan firmly denied the claims. “Nissan is in no way considering dissolving the alliance,” the statement said.
“The alliance is the source of Nissan’s competitiveness,” the firm said, adding that it will look to continue delivering “win-win results for all member companies.”
The partnership, which also includes Japan’s Mitsubishi Motors, has been troubled since the shock arrest of its former chief Ghosn on charges of financial misconduct.
Ghosn, who last month 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 automaker with Renault.
In a news conference in Lebanon, he claimed the alliance was now 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 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.
Nissan fell nearly three percent Tuesday afternoon.
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 was “nowhere near” the point of collapse and insisted its leaders were busy “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,” adding that rebuilding trust between the two firms “will take time.”


IMF experts visit Lebanon amid worsening economic crisis

Updated 20 February 2020

IMF experts visit Lebanon amid worsening economic crisis

  • IMF team will provide broad technical advice
  • Lebanon has not requested IMF financial assistance

BEIRUT: A team of IMF experts met Prime Minister Hassan Diab on Thursday at the start of a visit to provide Lebanon with advice on tackling a deepening financial and economic crisis, an official Lebanese source said.

The IMF has said the team will visit until Feb. 23 and provide broad technical advice. Lebanon has not requested financial assistance from the Fund.

The long-brewing economic crisis spiraled last year as capital flows into the country slowed and protests erupted against the ruling elite over decades of corruption and bad governance.

Diab’s government, which took office last month, must decide what to do about upcoming debt payments, notably a $1.2 billion dollar-denominated sovereign bond due on March 9.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun meanwhile said on Thursday measures would be taken to hold to account all those who contributed to Lebanon’s financial crisis through illegal actions be they transfers abroad, manipulation of Eurobonds or other acts.

“There is information that we are still in need of with regards to the banking situation. There are measures that we will take to hold to account all who participated in bringing the crisis to where it is,” Aoun said, according to his Twitter account.

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One of Lebanon’s most influential politicians, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, said on Wednesday that debt restructuring was the best solution for looming maturities.

Lebanon will on Friday review proposals from firms bidding to give it financial and legal advice on its options, a source familiar with the matter said on Thursday. The government aims to take a quick decision on who to appoint, the source said.

So far, firms bidding to be Lebanon’s legal adviser are Dechert, Cleary Gottlieb, and White and Case, the source said.

Lebanon has issued requests for proposals to seven firms to provide it with financial advice.

The government on Wednesday formed a committee tasked with preparing an economic recovery plan that includes ministers, government officials, a central bank representative and economists, according to a copy of a decree seen by Reuters.