March 10, 2019 / 2:08 PM / 6 months ago

Renault, Nissan, MMC plan joint board meeting, eye integration: report

TOKYO (Reuters) - Renault SA, Nissan Motor Co and Mitsubishi Motors Corp plan to set up a joint board meeting structure to discuss issues related to their alliance in a step toward integration of operations, TV Tokyo reported on Sunday.

Nissan Motor Co Ltd Chief Executive Hiroto Saikawa speaks at a news conference in Yokohama, in this photo taken by Kyodo February 12, 2019. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS

Citing multiple sources involved in the matter, the broadcaster said the heads of the three automakers - Nissan Chief Executive Hiroto Saikawa, Mitsubishi Motors Chairman Osamu Masuko, and Renault Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard - are preparing to announce the plan for the joint meeting soon.

If approved at Nissan’s scheduled board meeting on Tuesday, the three companies’ top executives will unveil the plan for the joint meeting, TV Tokyo said.

None of the three companies could be reached for immediate comment.

The alliance between Renault and Nissan was first set up in 1999 and expanded in 2016 to include Mitsubishi.

Carlos Ghosn, who served as chairman at all three companies, before his arrest in November, had been pushing for a deeper tie-up between Nissan and Renault, including possiby a full merger, despite Nissan reservations.

The future of the three-way partnership has been thrown into doubt after Ghosn’s arrest for alleged financial misconduct.

Ghosn, released on $9 million bail last week, faces charges of aggravated breach of trust and under-reporting his salary by about $82 million at Nissan for nearly a decade. He denies the charges.

The new board meeting structure, to be called “New Alliance Board”, would effectively replace two separate Dutch-based companies - one between Nissan and Renault, and the other between Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors - that were set up to explore synergies and handle other alliance matters, TV Tokyo reported.

The board meeting is likely to be chaired by Senard, and may assign working groups to explore ways to combine the three companies’ operations, TV Tokyo said.

Reporting by Chang-Ran Kim and Maki Shiraki. Editing by Jane Merriman

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