Nissan shares drop by 4%

Nissan Motor Co Ltd (7201.T) shares fell 4% in early trading on Monday, following news that main shareholder Renault SA (RENA.PA) would consider reducing its position in the Japanese manufacturer.

Renault may explore reducing its Nissan shareholding as part of its ambitions to separate its electric vehicle business, according to media reports on Friday. In an attempt to catch up to Tesla (TSLA.O) and Volkswagen (VOWG p.DE), the French manufacturer has been pushing ahead with plans to divide its electric and combustion-engine operations.

Renault said on Friday that all possibilities for separating the electric car company were on the table, including a possible public listing in the second half of 2023.

Any plans would be subject to alliance member Nissan’s permission, according to Renault finance director Thierry Pieton, who added that Nissan was “in the loop” as Renault considered its alternatives.

Nissan and Renault have both declined to comment on the report.

The 2018 departure of alliance founder Carlos Ghosn amid a financial scandal shocked the two-decade-old partnership, which includes Mitsubishi Motors (7211.T). Since then, the manufacturers have promised to strengthen their relations by pooling their resources.

They said in January that they will collaborate more closely on electric vehicles. They outlined a $26 billion five-year investment strategy.

However, in Japan, their unequal relationship has long been a subject of contention. Renault controls 43.4 percent of Nissan, and Nissan owns a 15% non-voting stake in its parent company. Renault bailed out Nissan two decades ago, but it is today the lesser-known automaker in terms of sales.

Nissan’s stock fell 4% in the morning session, compared to a 1.9 percent drop in the Nikkei 225 (.N225) share average.

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