No need to lower French government’s stake in Renault: Macron

French President Emmanuel Macron’s comment contradicts recent remarks by Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire that the government was ready to reduce its 15 percent stake in Renault. (AP)
Updated 27 June 2019

No need to lower French government’s stake in Renault: Macron

  • Relations have been strained between the alliance members since the shock arrest in November of former boss Carlos Ghosn
  • Renault owns 43 percent of Nissan, which in turn holds a 15 percent, non-voting stake in its French partner

TOKYO: French President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday there was no need for the government to lower its stake in Renault and that he wanted the Renault-Nissan alliance to work on strengthening its synergies.
Relations have been strained between the alliance members since the shock arrest in November of former boss Carlos Ghosn, but Macron referred to that as an individual situation that should not have a bearing on their partnership.
“Nothing in this situation justifies changing the cross shareholdings, the rules of governance, and the state’s shareholding in Renault, which has nothing to do with Nissan,” Macron told reporters.
Macron’s comment contradicts recent remarks by Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire that the government was ready to reduce its 15 percent stake in Renault in the interest of bolstering the automaker’s alliance with Japan’s Nissan Motor.
“I wish for the group to maintain its stability concentrating on the essential and that synergies between Renault and Nissan continue to be strengthened,” said Macron, who was in Japan on an official state visit ahead of the G20 in Osaka.
“The future of the group is how it can become leader in electric vehicles and one of the leaders in autonomous vehicles … I think the future is more of a growing integration.”
Despite the French government’s frequent calls for Renault and Nissan to strengthen their partnership, Nissan has been unhappy with what it sees as an unequal relationship and has rebuffed previous suggestions of an outright merger.
Renault owns 43 percent of Nissan which has surpassed its French partner in size since being rescued by it two decades ago. Nissan holds a 15 percent, non-voting stake in its partner.
Nissan Chief Executive Hiroto Saikawa said at a shareholders’ meeting this week the Japanese automaker would “postpone discussions” on the future direction of the alliance as it prioritized recovery of its financial performance.


Deal on oil cuts ‘close’ as Saudi Arabia enlists G20

Updated 07 April 2020

Deal on oil cuts ‘close’ as Saudi Arabia enlists G20

  • ‘Virtual’ energy summit on Friday in new effort to stabilize market

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia plans to use its presidency of the powerful G20 group of nations in efforts to restore balance to global oil markets.

The Kingdom is organizing a special meeting of G20 energy ministers — including the other two biggest producers, the US and Russia — to discuss cuts to output.

The “virtual” summit is scheduled for Friday, the day after an OPEC+ meeting of oil producers. Crucially, the US, which is not an OPEC member, will be involved in the G20 summit, energy secretary Dan Brouillette said.

The initiative emerged after a weekend phone call between Prince Abdul Aziz bin Salman, the Saudi energy minister, and Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency. The involvement of the G20 is part of the group’s remit, Birol told Arab News on Monday.

“The job description of the G20 is to provide and maintain financial stability, so it is in line with their aims,” he said.

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“The oil industry is going through one of the worst times in its history, and this could have major implications for the global economy, financial markets and employment. Saudi Arabia has been a stabilizing factor in the markets for many years.”

Saudi Arabia and Russia were “very, very close” to a deal to cut oil output, said Kirill Dmitriev, chief executive of the Russian Direct Investment Fund and a close confidant of President Vladimir Putin. An agreement would “bring so much important stability to the market,” he said.

Nevertheless, significant challenges remain. So far, talks between OPEC+ members have focused on a cut of about 10 million barrels per day. This would not be enough to outweigh global market oversupply estimated at more than 20 million barrels, amid a demand slump caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

There are also concerns about whether US producers would be permitted to take part in cuts. American antitrust law prohibits cartel practices, which would rule out a concerted move by its many oil companies.

Some energy experts have suggested that action by the Railroad Commission of Texas, which regulates the energy business in the biggest US oil state, could help limit overall US output.

On the markets, amid the continuing uncertainty, Brent crude was trading about 5 percent down, at just over $32.