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March 31 (Reuters) - Nissan Motor Co and France's Renault SA are leaning toward establishing a holding company that would put the two companies under a single umbrella, Nissan President Carlos Ghosn told the Nikkei business daily.
If realized, the plan would mark the first time that major automakers in countries across the globe came together under a single holding company, the Nikkei said.
The process could take place in two or three years, Ghosn, who is also the chairman of Renault, told the paper.
Ghosn said shareholders' interests must be taken into consideration, suggesting Nissan and Renault will remain listed and the French government, which owns a 15 percent stake in Renault, will have a say, according to the report.
The plan calls for Russia's leading automaker AvtoVaz, which is 25 percent-owned by Renault, as well as Romania's Dacia and South Korea's Renault Samsung Motors - both subsidiaries of the French automaker - to move under the proposed umbrella, the paper said.
Nissan sold a record 4.08 million vehicles worldwide in 2010, with Chinese sales hitting 1 million for the first time and surpassing figures for Japan and the United States, the Nikkei report said.
Russia, India and Brazil are also key markets for Nissan, the report said.
Placing leading local firms under the group's umbrella would be advantageous in expanding local operations while reducing expenses for building factories and establishing sales networks, the daily said.
Renault currently owns a 44.3 percent stake in its Japanese partner, while Nissan holds 15 percent of the French automaker's shares, according to the Nikkei.
(Reporting by Kavyanjali Kaushik; Editing by Prem Udayabhanu)