Japan’s Nissan Motor Co Ltd rejected a shareholder proposal at its annual general meeting (AGM) on Tuesday that would have led to the disclosure of a decades-old deal with 43% stakeholding Renault SA. Prior to the AGM, an investor proposed designating Renault as Nissan’s parent company, which would enforce by law the publication of the agreement fixing the capital of the automakers and the business alliance. Lack of publication prevents shareholders from discussing the alliance, which consequently remains “unequal,” the investor said. Nissan owns only a 15% non-voting interest in Renault.
Observers expected opposition from the French automaker to torpedo the proposal. Still, Nissan said last month that it would publish the contents of the agreement in its annual securities report provided it does not violate a duty of confidentiality.
Full disclosure of the Revised Alliance Master Agreement would reveal the extent of the 23-year partnership formed when Renault rescued Nissan from the brink of bankruptcy. The deal has long been a source of tension as it allows Renault to increase its involvement with Nissan’s management.
The alliance, which added Japan’s Mitsubishi Motors Corp. in 2016, was shocked by the 2018 ouster of alliance founder Carlos Ghosn amid a financial scandal. The automakers have since pledged to pool more resources and work more closely together to create electric vehicles (EVs). Still, in April, Renault said all options were on the table – including a possible public listing of its EV unit – when it comes to overhauling its business in response to the rapid electrification of the auto industry.
For Nissan — an EV pioneer with its 2010 Leaf — it’s too early to consider divesting its EV division, the chief operating officer said last month.