By Maki Shiraki
The Nissan Motor Co board committee on Monday reviewed Renault SA’s proposals and approved working on final terms for a reshaped alliance with its French partner, two people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
People said Renault Chief Executive Luca De Meo is scheduled to travel to Japan this month to meet with Nissan CEO Makoto Uchida, the second time since the two sides began negotiations for a restructured partnership in October.
The Nissan board-level review also highlights progress made after three months of working-level negotiations aimed at restructuring a partnership that dates back to 1999, when Renault bailed Nissan out.
On Monday, Uchida briefed Nissan’s independent executives about the progress in the negotiations; such as Renault’s latest proposals, which aim to address the Japanese automaker’s concerns over security measures for its technology, including hybrid systems, as the French company restructures. meeting told Reuters.
Nissan external executives meeting on the committee said they approved steps towards reaching an agreement between the two parties.
The people asked that their names not be disclosed as the negotiations were ongoing and confidential.
While Nissan declined to comment, Renault did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Reuters reported Friday that Nissan board members will meet to review proposals from Renault in a step that those in the discussion see as progress towards a deal.
The two companies are discussing reducing Renault’s stake in Nissan from the current 43% to 15%, which is equivalent to Nissan’s stake in Renault. The people involved said that 28% of Nissan’s shares, which Renault will sell, will be transferred to a trust.
Nissan is also considering investing in a new electric vehicle company Renault aims to establish, codenamed Ampere.
There has been a complex issue regarding the treatment of intellectual property, including EV-related technology, which Nissan sees as the key to its own future competitiveness, people involved in the discussions said.
Renault provided proposals to address these concerns, which were conveyed by Uchida to the Nissan board committee, said a third person familiar with the discussions. The exact nature of these proposals was not immediately known.
The French government, which is Renault’s largest shareholder with a 15% stake, has approved Renault’s restructuring.
Separately, Renault is working to finalize a deal with China’s Geely Automobile Holdings and bring Saudi Arabian state oil producer Aramco as an investor and partner to develop gasoline engines and hybrid technologies, three people familiar with those talks told Reuters. .
People involved in the negotiations said that Nissan was wary of leaking technology it developed while partnering with Renault to the Chinese automaker or others.
(Reported by Maki Shiraki of Tokyo and Norihiko Shirouzu of Beijing, edited by Kevin Krolicki and Jamie Freed)