Nissan, Renault mull closure of joint venture in Netherlands

12, Mar. 2019

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TOKYO, Kyodo - Nissan Motor Co. and Renault SA are considering closing their joint venture in the Netherlands, sources said Monday, with the Japanese-French auto alliance aiming to establish a new management structure after the arrest of former Chairman Carlos Ghosn.

As the alliance looks to strengthen its joint operations, Nissan, Renault and the other partner Mitsubishi Motors Corp. said their top executives will hold a joint press conference on Tuesday at Nissan's headquarters in Yokohama.

Renault said in a statement Monday it is in discussions with its alliance partners to establish “a new Alliance body in order to enhance and ensure further collaboration.”

The joint venture named Renault-Nissan B.V., which oversees the partnership's operations, had been led by its chairman Ghosn until he was detained by Japanese authorities on Nov. 19 for alleged financial misconduct.

The Amsterdam-based venture had become nonfunctional in recent years and the alliance has decided on key strategies at other meetings, according to the sources.

The joint venture funded a dinner party held at the Palace of Versailles on the former chairman's birthday and another party with his friends at the Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, according to French media reports.

Nissan and Renault last month launched a joint investigation into whether the venture is involved in any potential financial misconduct.

Ghosn was replaced as chairman and CEO of Renault by Jean-Dominique Senard and Thierry Bollore, respectively, and Nissan removed Ghosn as chairman and appointed Senard as a new director subject to approval at a shareholders' meeting on April. 8. Bollore also succeeded Ghosn as chairman of the joint venture.

Senard and Bollore, Nissan President and CEO Hiroto Saikawa and Mitsubishi Motors Chairman and CEO Osamu Masuko will attend their first joint press conference on Tuesday.

Nissan and Mitsubishi are also considering dissolving their joint venture Nissan-Mitsubishi B.V., which was established in June 2017 in the Netherlands, sources with knowledge of the plan said Saturday.

Mitsubishi Motors said in January that an internal investigation had found Ghosn “illegally” received around 7.82 million euros ($8.9 million) in remuneration from the venture. (Kyodo)