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Nissan’s focus in the equalisation of capital ties with Renault.

On 30 January 2023, Nissan issued a statement regarding a new capital relationship with Renault. Since late 2022, Nissan has been in discussions with Renault on the nature of the alliance relationship. The three main issues discussed are 1) an equal capital relationship between Nissan and Renault, 2) Nissan’s investment in Ampere, the BEV and software business unit that Renault plans to spin off, and 3) a new business alliance.

 Firstly, regarding the capital relationship between Renault and Nissan, the two companies have agreed to an equal capital relationship, with Renault currently holding 43.4% of Nissan’s issued shares, 28.4% of which will be placed in trust with a French trust company. The voting rights attached to the shares held in trust will be neutralised in relation to most proposals, effectively reducing Renault’s stake in Nissan to 15% with voting rights. Nissan already holds 15% of Renault’s issued shares, but until now has not been able to exercise its voting rights under French law; the reduction in Renault’s stake will allow it to exercise its voting rights and put the two companies on equal footing in terms of capital. The reduction in Renault’s stake will enable the two companies to exercise their voting rights, making them equal partners in terms of capital. Some commentators have suggested that it will be a major challenge to maintain the speed of response to changes in the business environment.

 Nissan’s investment in Renault’s BEV and software company Ampere has also been agreed. The details of the investment ratio will be announced in the future, but it will be interesting to see how the parties reach an agreement on the management of the BEV’s intellectual property rights, which Nissan is reported to be concerned about. Ampere is also planning to develop software-defined vehicles (SDV), and Qualcomm is set to invest in Ampere in this connection. Nissan has expressed concern over the management of intellectual property related to the BEV to be co-developed with Renault in Ampere. It will also be interesting to see the extent to which Nissan will rely on Ampere for its BEV business (development/procurement/production etc.). If efficiency is a priority, a heavier reliance on Ampere makes more sense. However, if the accumulation of unique knowledge on BEVs is important, then it is necessary to retain some of the work done in-house, and it is important to strike a balance between the two.

 With regard to new business alliances, it has been agreed that future projects in Latin America, India and Europe will be promoted from the three perspectives of markets, vehicles and technology. Further announcements to be made in the coming weeks are awaited.