Daimler plans to dispose of its stake in Renault, the next step in dissolving equity ties forged over a decade ago to cement a three-way partnership between the German carmaker, its French peer, and Japan’s Nissan.
The maker of Mercedes-Benz cars is launching an offer to institutional investors for 9.2 million shares following Wednesday’s market close, with the stake valued at about 316 million euros (R5.58 billion).
The automakers’ industrial partnership remains unchanged and won’t be impacted by the decision, according to a statement.
Nissan sold its entire stake in Daimler for 1.15 billion euros (R20.3 billion) in May this year, joining partner Renault that sold its holding in March to generate funds for turnaround efforts.
While the collaboration, including working together on Smart ForTwo and Renault Twingo small cars, yielded some cost saving through shared projects, the overall benefits remained modest.
Daimler still retains a holding of about 3.1% in Nissan.
Both Renault and Nissan are trying to restore profitability and overhaul their portfolio after the 2018 arrest and downfall of their long-time leader Carlos Ghosn threw their own alliance into disarray.
While Renault has declined 4% since the start of the year, Daimler has jumped 52%.
Several of Ghosn and former Daimler chief Dieter Zetsche’s projects to jointly develop and produce vehicles turned into bruising experiences.
Mercedes culled the X-Class pickup that was based on the Nissan Navara due to poor sales, and customers mocked the mediocre quality of the small Citan van that shared components with Renault.
The collaboration the companies planned for a factory in Aguascalientes, Mexico, also didn’t pan out as initially planned.
Ghosn and Zetsche regularly hosted joint press conferences at car shows before Japanese police arrested the former in late 2018 on suspicion of financial misconduct.
Zetsche stepped down from his roles at Daimler the following year.