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Nissan takes US$687 million loss as it sells Russian business for 1 euro

The sale to Nami will include Nissan's production and research facilities in St Petersburg as well as its sales and marketing centre in Moscow, the ministry says.

Reuters
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A man walks out of Nissan and Datsun showroom in Russia's Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk March 30, 2015. Photo: Reuters
A man walks out of Nissan and Datsun showroom in Russia's Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk March 30, 2015. Photo: Reuters

Nissan Motor Co Ltd will hand over its business in Russia to a state-owned entity for 1 euro (US$0.97), it said on Tuesday, taking a loss of around US$687 million and exiting the country months after it was forced to halt production there.

The Japanese company will transfer its shares in Nissan Manufacturing Russia LLC to state-owned Nami, it said. The deal will give Nissan the right to buy back the business within six years, Russia's industry and trade ministry said.

The deal makes Nissan the latest major company to exit Russia since Moscow sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine in February. It also mirrors a move by Nissan's top shareholder, French automaker Renault, which sold its majority stake in Russian carmaker Avtovaz to a Russian investor in May.

The sale to Nami will include Nissan's production and research facilities in St Petersburg as well as its sales and marketing centre in Moscow, the ministry said.

Nissan said it expected an extraordinary loss of around 100 billion yen (US$687 million), but maintained its earnings forecast for the financial year ending in March.

Nissan had suspended production at its St Petersberg plant in March due to supply chain disruptions. Since then, the company and its local unit had been monitoring the situation, it said. But there was "no visibility" of a change to the external environment, Nissan said, prompting it to decide to exit.

Junior alliance partner Mitsubishi Motors Corp is also considering exiting Russia, the Nikkei newspaper said. A spokesperson for Mitsubishi said nothing had been decided.

The exit comes as Nissan has embarked on a major shift in its relationship with Renault. The two said on Monday they were in talks about the future of their alliance, including Nissan considering investing in a new electric vehicle venture by Renault.

Those talks, which could prompt the biggest reset in the alliance since the 2018 arrest of long-time executive Carlos Ghosn, have also included the possibility of Renault selling some of its controlling stake in Nissan, two people with knowledge of the talks have told Reuters.

Renault reportedly sold its stake in Avtovaz for one rouble (US$0.02).

The Nissan deal was "of great significance for the industry," Russia's Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov said in a statement.

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