BEIJING/TOKYO: Nissan Motor’s concerns over technology transfer have complicated plans for partner Renault to sell a stake in its gasoline engine business to China’s Geely, according to three people familiar with the talks. said.
Renault is undergoing a complex two-pronged restructuring. On the one hand, it aims to revamp its alliance with Nissan and convince the Japanese automaker to invest in a new electric vehicle division called Ampere.
At the same time, it also plans to spin off its gasoline-powered vehicle business, codenamed “Horse,” and intends to sell most of it to Geely.
Investors are seeking details on the progress of both rounds of negotiations on Tuesday, when Renault Group CEO Luca de Meo provides an update on the French automaker’s strategy and financial forecasts.
Nissan’s concerns about technology rights, which extend to a potential investment in Ampere, suggest that Renault could negotiate and settle a deal in parallel.
Nissan wants to ensure that its key internal combustion engine and hybrid technology is protected in any deal with Renault and Geely, two of the people said.
Furthermore, the potential transfer of technology to Chinese companies should be treated with caution, they said.
The sources were not authorized to speak to the media and declined to be identified.The three automakers declined to comment.
Progress of the Renault Geely
Negotiations between Renault and Geely have progressed after negotiations in London last month, one of the three people familiar with the matter said, without elaborating. Geely CEO Daniel Lee was in London for negotiations, but he has since returned to China, the person said.
Geely, which owns Volvo Cars and holds a 9.7% stake in Daimler AG, could acquire a significant and controlling stake in the petrol vehicle business, sources previously said.
Talks between Renault and Nissan were underway in Paris last week, with De Meo and his Nissan counterpart Makoto Uchida in talks every weekend, Uchida told Reuters last week.
Nissan’s concerns over technology rights are another reason why preliminary agreements to invest in Ampere have yet to be reached. There are unresolved intellectual property issues for cutting-edge technologies like solid-state batteries, people familiar with the talks said.
Discussions include the need to ensure that the technology handed over to Ampere stays within the EV unit, two people said.
Uchida said Nissan is aiming for a restructured “equal partnership” that will strengthen both sides’ competitiveness in the transition to electric vehicles.
Renault owns 43% of Nissan’s shares, and the Japanese automaker owns 15% of Renault’s non-voting shares. The two sides are in talks to reduce Renault’s stake in Nissan to 15%, according to people familiar with the talks.
The Renault-Nissan Alliance, which includes Mitsubishi Motors as a junior partner, announced plans to invest a total of $26 billion in January.
That total investment is only half of what its bigger rival Volkswagen has promised.
Uchida said the deal with Renault, which optimizes shared investment, is important because the Alliance’s investment scale is still less than planned by what he called a “giant OEM.”
He did not mention the name of the original equipment manufacturer.
Uchida also said Nissan wants Renault’s interests to be “handled fairly” if it enters into a new partnership with Geely. The shift to electric vehicles is proceeding at different speeds in China, the United States and Europe, he said.
https://www.channelnewsasia.com/business/renaults-talks-geely-complicated-nissan-concerns-sources-3050241 Renault-Geely talks complicated by Nissan concerns – sources