Overhaul of the Renault-Nissan contract, behind the withdrawal of the Alliance?

This is the latest episode of a marriage that will cross all the states. On January 30, Renault and Nissan confirmed that their alliance, which began in 1999, will soon be overhauled. The change is based on long-standing demand from the Japanese automaker and the reduction of its French partner’s involvement in its business. capital. This has now fallen from 43.4% to 15%, which is the same as Nissan’s performance at Renault.

The deal ends a long-standing grudge against Nissan, which sees this non-reciprocal influence on Renault’s internal structure as unfair. And when Renault arrived in 1999, the Japanese manufacturer was on the brink of bankruptcy after a spectacular recovery. In 2018, the arrest of the CEO of two brands in Tokyo, Carlos Gho, accused of embezzlement, paralyzed the “Alliance”.

End of long negotiations

The agreement, which was announced on Monday, January 30, finally ends months of long negotiations over the follow-up to the partnership. “The goal is to strengthen the Alliance’s relationships and maximize value creation for all stakeholders” welcomed the two manufacturers in a joint press release.

A fairly optimistic reading grid for the future shared by some: “Specific announcements of potential future projects between the two partners (three of which are Mitsubishi) will allow them to create additional synergies (…), limit investment needs and provide greater certainty about the future of the ‘deal’, thus, experts at Oddo BHF believe in a note published on Monday, January 30th.

However, the deal is leading others to see a clear signal of a declining partnership between Renault and Nissan. “Since becoming CEO of Renault in July 2020, Luca de Meo’s obsession has been to change the French brand first and foremost, even if it means leaving the Alliance. Bernard Jullien from the Gerpisa research center explains. We finally have confirmation. The two partners note that they no longer have much synergy between them. And everyone will do something on their side. »

The Amper project at the heart of Renault’s future

This overhaul of the Renault-Nissan alliance actually comes amid an internal reorganization of the diamond brand. Renaulution, presented in November 2020, notably involves the clear separation of the different activities of the Renault group, with the creation of two new subsidiaries: Power, dedicated to internal combustion engines, and Amper, dedicated to electricity.

It is the latter that forms the basis of Renault’s project for years to come. The ambitious goal is to value Ampere on the stock market at around 10 billion euros, the current value of the entire Renault group. In order to free up financing, Renault did not hesitate to sell 50% of its historical heating business, now the Power subsidiary, to the Chinese manufacturer Geely, which owns Volvo.

“Strategic shareholder” of Nissan Ampere

But especially the participation of Nissan was more expected. Overhaul of alliance contracts commits the Japanese manufacturer “strategic shareholder” Ampere should hold approximately 15% of the capital of the Renault subsidiary.

But it shouldn’t do much, and may prompt the French manufacturer to look elsewhere: “If Nissan is making great progress in strategic electric research, there is little chance that it will end up in the Ampere and Renault will benefit from it. Bernard Jullien notes. The question that will arise in the future is whether Renault will really continue to work with Nissan – which seems hardly plausible to me – or with other partners? Renault’s approach to Geely for the Power project is indicative of an attempt to multiply these projects and alliances. »

More of a one-off partnership than a significant alliance: a possible turning point for Renault, which has been involved with Nissan since 1999. We’ll have to wait a few more days, probably February 6, for more details on the future of the alliance. .

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