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MarketScreener Homepage  >  Equities  >  Tokyo  >  Nissan Motor Co Ltd    7201   JP3672400003

NISSAN MOTOR CO LTD

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Nissan Motor : pours cold water on hopes for quick fix to Renault strain

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06/25/2019 | 01:39am EDT
FILE PHOTO: The logo of Nissan is seen on a car during the Prague Autoshow

YOKOHAMA, Japan (Reuters) - Nissan Motor on Tuesday threw cold water on hopes for a quick fix to its strained relations with France's Renault SA, saying inequality between the partners could unravel their two-decade-old automaking alliance.

Speaking at Nissan's annual general meeting in Yokohama, its first since the dramatic ouster of former chairman Carlos Ghosn last year, Chief Executive Hiroto Saikawa said he wanted to preserve the spirit of equality in the alliance - despite a shareholding structure that Nissan has long seen as lopsided.

Tuesday's meeting comes just days after the two partners resolved a highly publicised disagreement between Saikawa and Renault Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard over appointments to Nissan's newly created governance committees.

"We want a win-win relationship with Renault. The alliance has been successful until now because we have respected each others' independence," Saikawa said.

"If necessary, we will put our capital structure on the table. If the relationship becomes a win-lose one, the relationship will break up very quickly."

His comments are some of the starkest in recent memory about the alliance and signal Nissan's deepening concern over the relationship.

"Our priority is to recover our performance, which means postponing discussions on the future of the alliance," Saikawa told shareholders.

"It is critical to create opportunities in the future with Renault to discuss options for the alliance. I want to discuss these with Senard."

Shareholders at Japan's second-biggest automaker voted on a new governance structure and 11-member board, after the arrest last year of Ghosn over financial misconduct allegations - which he denies - revealed auditing weaknesses at the company.

Renault, Nissan's biggest shareholder with 43.4% of the Japanese automaker, had demanded additional representation for its directors on Nissan groups overseeing company auditing and personnel nominations.

Saikawa had initially pushed back at those demands, but late last week Nissan granted seats to Senard and Renault CEO Thierry Bollore on its nominations and auditing committees, respectively.

Although that manoeuvring helped pull the Nissan-Renault alliance back from the brink of crisis - and may have saved Saikawa's job - the former Ghosn lieutenant is now faced with the unenviable task of trying to shore up the strained partnership.

Nissan shareholders on Tuesday also returned Saikawa to the board of the automaker, as expected. Reappointment sees him defy opposition by proxy advisors.

In a rare public rebuke by international proxy firms against the leader of a top-tier Japanese firm, International Shareholder Services and Glass Lewis earlier this month urged Nissan shareholders to vote against reappointing Saikawa as a director.

(Reporting by Naomi Tajitsu; Editing by David Dolan and Christopher Cushing)

By Naomi Tajitsu

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
NISSAN MOTOR CO LTD 1.88% 764.6 End-of-day quote.-10.69%
RENAULT -0.62% 51.06 Real-time Quote.-6.40%
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Financials (JPY)
Sales 2020 11 234 B
EBIT 2020 260 B
Net income 2020 245 B
Debt 2020 6 676 B
Yield 2020 5,58%
P/E ratio 2020 12,3x
P/E ratio 2021 8,42x
EV / Sales2020 0,86x
EV / Sales2021 0,84x
Capitalization 2 992 B
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Mean consensus HOLD
Number of Analysts 22
Average target price 813,95  JPY
Last Close Price 764,60  JPY
Spread / Highest target 93,6%
Spread / Average Target 6,45%
Spread / Lowest Target -32,0%
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Managers
NameTitle
Hiroto Saikawa Vice Chairman, President & Chief Executive Officer
Hiroshi Karube Chief Financial Officer
Takao Asami Senior Managing Executive Officer & Head-Research
Anthony Thomas Chief Information Officer & Corporate VP
Carlos Ghosn Bichara Director
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