Nissan, Mitsubishi, Renault said to be planning single board

Carlos Ghosn

Carlos Ghosn

While Carlos Ghosn's defense team last week continued to challenge Japanese prosecutors over what they termed irregularities in the case against the disgraced Renault-Nissan executive, Nissan chief Hiroto Saikawa was working his own campaign to impugn Ghosn's character.

The two firms have since been at pains to present a united front and new Renault boss Jean-Dominique Senard will appear with Saikawa at a news conference in Tokyo on Tuesday after the Nissan board meeting.

The automakers did not announce any changes in their mutual stake holdings.

The new board will drive the operational co-operation between Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi Motors and look for new ways to generate value for its respective shareholders and employees.

Ghosn was released from a Tokyo detention center last week after more than 100 days in custody, following an unusual court decision allowing him to post bail of one billion yen ($9 million).

Nissan removed Ghosn as chief shortly after his shock arrest in November, but he can not be officially removed from his seat on the board without an extraordinary shareholders' meeting - expected to take place on April 8. He says he is innocent.

Ghosn remains a director at Nissan and Renault despite being stripped of his titles; but a meeting of Nissan shareholders on April 8, 2019 will decide his removal from the board. At the moment, as he awaits trial, he is barred from leaving the country.

That would replace Dutch-based companies now linking Nissan and Renault and, separately, Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors, the people said.

Nissan, which makes the March subcompact, Leaf electric vehicle and Infiniti luxury models, has denounced Ghosn for alleged misconduct.

Renault holds 43 percent of Nissan shares while Nissan holds 15 percent of Renault shares.

"We have chose to join our forces again to enhance the strength of our collaboration", Senard said. Senard will be chairman of the new alliance board and hopes to become vice chairman at Nissan, he said. Nissan is now more profitable than Renault.

His downfall was plotted due to "opposition and anxiety" over the plan to bring Nissan and Renault closer together, Ghosn alleged.

Since Ghosn's release, he has been seen in Tokyo on outings with his family.

Hironaka said Ghosn would meet the press at an "opportune time", but that it would not be on Tuesday.

Asked whether Ghosn was really planning such a merger, Senard said he was not able to confirm that and added that a merger, or shareholding power balance, "is not the point of today".

"It is unfortunate that the meritless and unsubstantiated accusations against him have blocked his ideas and perspective from being deployed in service of the company he served for the past 20 years".

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