TOKYO -- Nissan Motor said the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance had no plans to change cross-shareholding ratios of its member companies. The response follows a Reuters report saying that Nissan was in talks with Renault over a closer tie-up that would lead to a merger.
Any discussion about a share transaction involving Renault, Nissan or the French state is speculation, a Nissan official said, echoing earlier statements made by a Renault-Nissan spokesman.
Reuters reported on Wednesday that the French and Japanese automakers were discussing plans in which Nissan would acquire the bulk of the French state's 15 percent Renault holding.
The automakers are in talks with government officials over proposals by Renault-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn that would see Paris give up influence at Renault and the French automaker relinquish control over Nissan, people close to the matter told Reuters.
But any deal still faces significant hurdles -- not least its extreme political sensitivity in France -- and has yet to win government approval, they said. To do so, it must balance French and Japanese interests, avoiding the appearance of a takeover.
The Renault-Nissan alliance, underpinned by cross-shareholdings, has wrestled intermittently since its 1999 inception with plans for full mergers that have foundered on objections from France, Renault's biggest shareholder.
But with Ghosn, the alliance's main architect, now beginning his final term as Renault CEO, the government has been pressing for a tie-up to secure the future of Renault-Nissan, the world's largest automaking group by sales last year.
Renault holds 43.4 percent of Nissan but agreed to limit formal control of its larger partner in a 2015 shareholder pact that defused a boardroom standoff with the French government.
Nissan currently owns a 34 percent controlling stake in Mitsubishi and 15 percent of Renault, but no voting rights.
Under Tokyo market rules, Renault would lose all voting rights on its Nissan holding if the Japanese automaker raised its Renault stake to 25 percent or more.
Renault shares fell 1.4 percent in early session trading on Thursday, following Nissan's comments. The stock gave up some of the gains it made in the previous day, when it ended 5.6 percent higher after Reuters reported that Nissan would acquire most of the French state's 15 percent Renault holding.