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Nissan-Renault alliance

Nissan denies split from Renault as stock hits 8-year low

Japanese automaker calls alliance its 'source of competitiveness'

Former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn's end of the year escape from Japan has only further strained the alliance with Renault.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Nissan Motor on Tuesday denied a media report that it is preparing for a potential split from French partner Renault -- a prospect that sent the Japanese automaker's stock falling to the lowest price since September 2011.

Nissan issued a statement saying it is "not considering splitting the alliance" and insisted the partnership is its "source of competitiveness."

The operating board the automakers established in March 2019, together with Mitsubishi Motors, is "working as the only institution to supervise the operation and the governance of the alliance," the company said.

The Financial Times on Monday reported that senior Nissan executives have been secretly planning for a possible divorce from Renault, which would entail dividing domains like engineering and manufacturing and changing Nissan's board members. The FT added that ousted Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn's stunning escape from Japan at the end of last year increased the urgency of the planning. Ghosn was awaiting trial for alleged financial misconduct but fled to Lebanon.

Renault Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard is to unveil joint projects with Nissan in the coming weeks, meant to show the alliance can still function, according to the FT report. But for now, the uncertainty has unnerved investors.

Nissan's stock on Tuesday fell 3% from last week to 617.8 yen, before closing at 618 yen. The Japanese market was closed on Monday for a national holiday.

"A split from Renault might not be a bad decision for the long term, as it provides more freedom for management," said Kunihito Seki, a strategist at the Tokai Tokyo Research Institute. "But it would trigger stock sales as it would jeopardize car sales in Europe as a short-term result."

Additional reporting by NQN staff writer Yusuke Uchiyama.

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