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Renault-Nissan prez denies reports of potential split amid Ghosn scandal

PTI, Jan 14, 2020, 11:53 AM IST

Brussels: The partnership between Renault and Nissan is “not dead”, the alliance’s president has insisted, after reports of a potential split in the wake of the Carlos Ghosn scandal.

Jean-Dominique Senard said that reports Nissan is mulling plans for a possible break-away 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 with Belgian daily L’Echo 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.

Britain’s Financial Times, citing “several people with knowledge of the matter”, said on Monday that senior executives at the scandal-hit Japanese automaker were speeding up work on secret plans for a potential divorce with French partner Renault.

In early trading in Tokyo on Tuesday, Nissan fell 1.77 percent, while Renault stocks finished 2.8 percent lower in Paris.

The reports come after former alliance chief Ghosn jumped bail and fled Japan, where he was awaiting trial on financial misconduct charges.

His shock arrival in his native Lebanon prompted outrage from the Japanese government as well as from Nissan.

Ghosn alleges the charges against him were cooked up by disgruntled Nissan executives opposed to his plans to more closely align the Japanese firm with its French partner.

At a press conference in Lebanon last week, he slammed the state of the alliance he once led, saying it had been gutted and left directionless.

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 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. On Tuesday, a Nissan spokeswoman declined to comment, saying: “We don’t comment on speculation.”

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

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