Renault said on Friday that all possibilities for separating its electric vehicle (EV) business were on the table, including a possible public listing in the second half of 2023.
Renault’s finance head, Thierry Piéton, said any plans would be subject to Nissan’s approval, but that the Japanese automaker was “in the loop” as Ranault considered its alternatives.
Renault has been moving forward with plans to divide its electric vehicle and internal combustion engine divisions as it tries to catch up to competitors like Tesla and Volkswagen in the battle to cleaner driving.
Last month, Ford said that it would handle its electric vehicle company apart from its traditional combustion engine operations.
The news came as Renault reported better-than-expected first-quarter revenue, with higher prices and increased EV sales essentially offsetting the impact of the Ukraine conflict and a global chip shortage.
After Bloomberg reported that Renault may consider lowering its shareholding in Nissan as part of its ambitions to separate its EV business, Renault shares momentarily jumped as much as 5 per cent.
Renault has declined to comment, and Nissan has yet to respond on the report.
Renault shares were up 1.4 per cent in early afternoon Paris trading.
The company, which also produces Dacia and Lada vehicles, reported a 2.7 per cent drop in revenue from a year ago to 9.75 billion euros ($10.6 billion).
According to Refinitiv estimates, analysts predicted revenue of roughly 9.61 billion euros.
With Avtovaz and Renault Russia excluded, revenue fell 1.1 per cent to 8.9 billion euros.
Renault announced last month that it would halt operations at its Moscow facility while it considers its options regarding its controlling interest in Avtovaz, Russia’s largest automaker. The French automaker said on Friday that talks on the future of its Russian operations were “ongoing and progressing.”
The dip in first-quarter revenue came after a 17 per cent drop in vehicle sales to 552,000 units, Renault’s lowest quarterly total since the global financial crisis of 2009.
Fully electric and hybrid car sales increased by 13% to account for 36% of overall sales, according to the business. As the business chases sales of more profitable cars, prices were up 5.6 per cent from the first quarter of 2021.
J.P. Morgan analysts called it a “solid quarter” in a client note.
“Renault continues to deliver on its pricing and model rationalization policy and today’s result comes in as another step in the right direction,” they wrote.
Renault reiterated its March financial forecast of a 3 per cent operating margin in 2022, and said it would provide a more detailed update on its aims and strategy later this year.
Renault’s anticipated car output will be reduced by 300,000 vehicles in 2022, largely in the first half of the year, due to a global scarcity of semiconductors, which are used in everything from brake sensors to entertainment systems, according to the firm.
Renault’s order book reached a 15-year high of 3.9 months of sales at the end of March.
(Adapted from Bloomberg.com)
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