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Nissan to take €74m charge linked to Ghosn exit

NISSAN has warned its annual profit will touch six-year lows on waning global sales, underlining the challenges it faces as it also grapples with the fallout from the shocking arrest and ousting of its former chairman Carlos Ghosn.

The Japanese car maker, in its first results since Ghosn was detained in November, unveiled an $84m (€74m) charge linked to deferred compensation for the executive who has been indicted for under-reporting his salary at Nissan over 2010-2018.

The scandal has roiled global auto markets and created tensions between Nissan and its automaking partner, France’s Renault, raising concerns about the future of the companies that Ghosn wanted to integrate.

The dour outlook indicates an urgent need for Nissan and Renault to strengthen their partnership, but ties have been strained since the Japanese automaker moved first to remove Ghosn as chairman after his November 19 arrest in Tokyo.

Nissan wants to stabilise alliance operations, said CEO Hiroto Saikawa, who is scheduled to meet newly appointed Renault chairman Jean-Dominique Senard this week in Japan as they look at ways to cement their partnership.

Ahead of that meeting, the Nissan CEO said he wanted both companies to better leverage their scale to be more competitive and efficient in areas including manufacturing and procurement, while respecting each others’ autonomy.

“In the past few years there’s been a lot of talk about ‘convergence’ of the two companies’ operations,” Mr Saikawa said, referring to one of Ghosn’s key aims for the alliance. “While stabilising our operations, we need to re-examine whether investments (towards convergence) are the most efficient.” This could mean a reassessment of the alliance’s growth targets through 2022, he said.

Nissan’s sales are around 60pc bigger than Renault’s but it remains junior in their shareholding structure. Renault holds 43.4pc of Nissan, which has a 15pc non-voting stake in Renault. (Reuters)

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