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France told Japan it backs Nissan-Renault plan, Japanese minister says

TOKYO : Japan's industry minister said on Friday he received a supportive letter from French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire about the alliance between Renault and Nissan, which the carmakers are seeking to rebalance.

"I received a letter ... that stated support for the Nissan-Renault plan. And I have sent back a letter in response," Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Yasutoshi Nishimura told reporters in Davos on Friday.

"In it... I expressed hope that efforts to enhance global competitiveness will lead to success," Nishimura said.

The two companies are discussing bringing down the stake of Renault SA in Nissan Motor Co from 43 per cent to 15 per cent, which would put them on an equal footing.

A deal could be announced as early as Feb. 1, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters on Thursday.

Nishimura declined to say more about the letters. Tokyo sent its reply to the French government in Nishimura's name on Thursday, the Nikkei newspaper reported separately.

French newspaper Les Echos first reported last week that Le Maire had sent a letter to his Japanese counterparts, and that the French state backed a reshaping of the alliance.

Source: Reuters


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