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Renault and Nissan really need help. The alliance that Carlos Ghosn built could be their only hope



How Volkswagen is reopening factories during the pandemic

Already under great pressure from the decline in sales and profits in 2019, the fall in global car demand this year could push French and Japanese companies closer together to cut costs and share the burden of building a new generation of electric vehicles.

The automakers have been partners since 1999, working together on strategy and product development while never taking risks and completing a full merger. Together with Mitsubishi Motors’ junior partners, the unique industry alliance employs around 450,000 people and in 2018 sells around one in every nine cars worldwide.

But the partnership began the third decade in chaos. That 2018 arrested from former alliance boss Carlos Ghosn, a turnaround expert believed to keep Renault and Nissan in business, sparked a series of leadership changes in both car makers, confusion about their strategy and questions whether stuttered relationship has outlived its usefulness.

Renault participated in merger talks with European rivals, and there are big questions about how the alliance will revive its wealth in North America, where Nissan is an important player but its French counterpart is not. Analysts also ask questions about cultural differences in the company.

Nissan (NSANF) and Renault (RNLSY), which was linked through a series of equity shares, denied in January that they were disbanding. Then coronaviruses attacked, plunging them deeper into the crisis and requiring an overhaul that the carmaker hopes to uncover on Wednesday.
Nissan is preparing to reduce global production capacity by 20% and close its factory in Barcelona, ​​according to Japan Nikkei Asia Review. Japanese media reported that Nissan could cut its workforce by 20,000. Renault can also stop making two popular models in Spain and move the production to Nissan’s large factory in Britain, according to the report Financial time.

The companies so far have largely maintained separate manufacturing facilities. Sharing production at the Sunderland factory can be a sign that car makers have put aside their differences and responded to the crisis by helping each other reduce costs.

Ghosn, who was arrested on charges of understating his income, always denied accusations of financial irregularities. He hopes to bring the company closer together, and he blamed his arrest for Nissan’s conspiracy aimed at preventing further integration with Renault. Nissan denied this story.

According to Nikkei, Renault and Nissan are looking for joint production facilities elsewhere in Europe, as well as South America and Southeast Asia. Nissan, for example, can start producing Renault vehicles at its plant in Brazil. The companies also reportedly hope to increase the number of parts that can be shared between their cars and accelerate plans to develop a shared vehicle platform.

The deepening of the commitment will mark a major change: As recently as last year, Renault has been looking beyond alliances to cut costs, holding merger talks with Fiat Chrysler (FCAU). The Italian-American company then agreed to a merger with owners of Peugeot and Citroen, closing other potential avenues for collaboration for Renault.

Spokespersons for Nissan and Renault declined to comment on Monday.

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Renault and Nissan are already struggling

Renault was in trouble before the pandemic struck. The French carmaker reported the worst financial performance in a decade last year, with net profit down 99% to only € 19 million ($ 21 million). Its share price has fallen 69% since the start of 2019.

In April, the company’s global sales fell by almost 70% compared to the same month last year when a pandemic hit Europe and North America. The company stopped production at 12 facilities in France in mid-March, continuing operations in most factories only this month.

There was also chaos in the leadership ranks, with Ghosn’s direct successor as CEO, Thierry Bolloré, ousted last October in what he denounced as a “coup.” Bolloré’s successor, Luca de Meo, did not start work until July.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire warned Friday that Renault is in “serious financial trouble.” “Renault could disappear,” he told Europe 1 radio.

The French government owns 15% of Renault, and is currently negotiating a € 5 billion ($ 5.4 billion) loan requirement for the company, which has not been approved by Le Maire. The Finance Minister said last week that Renault should not close its factory north of Paris – one of the few facilities currently producing cars for Nissan.

“We signed when we found out what Renault’s strategy was,” Le Maire told the radio station. The company’s plan must include the transition to more environmentally friendly vehicles. “We want Renault to be more productive and produce more vehicles, especially electricity, in France,” he added.

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Nissan, which reports financial results for the 2019 fiscal year on Thursday, has experienced four consecutive quarters of decline. Operating profit fell to 54.3 billion yen ($ 504 million) for the three months ended December, down 83% from the same quarter a year earlier.

– Hanna Ziady contributed reporting.

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Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.



Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.

Method Media Bermuda will present the documentary FABRIC: Portuguese History in Bermuda on Thursday, December 29 at the Underwater Research Institute of Bermuda.

A spokesperson said: “Method Media is proud to bring Bermuda Fabric: Portugal History to Bermuda for its 5th and 6th showing at the Bermuda Underwater Observatory. In November and December 2019, Cloth: A Portuguese Story in Bermuda had four sold-out screenings. Now that Bermuda has reopened after the pandemic, it’s time to bring the film back for at least two screenings.

“There are tickets For $ 20 – sessions at 15:30 and 18:00. Both screenings will be followed by a short Q&A session.

Director and producer Milton Raboso says, “FABRIC is a definitive account of the Portuguese community in Bermuda and its 151 years of history, but it also places Bermuda, Acors and Portugal in the world history and the events that have fueled those 151 years.

“It took more than 10 years to implement FABRIC. The film was supported by the Minister of Culture, the Government of the Azores and private donors.

Bermuda Media Method [MMB] Created in 2011 by producer Milton Raposo. MMB has created content for a wide range of clients: Bermuda’s new hospital renovation, reinsurance, travel campaigns, international sports and more. MMB pays special attention to artistic, cultural and historical content.

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Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.



Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.

Maestro Filipe Cunha, Artistic Director of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Braga, has been invited to conduct the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra, as announced today.

According to a statement sent by O MINHO, “he will be the first Portuguese conductor to conduct this orchestra in its entire history.”

In addition to this orchestra, the maestro will also work with the Lyceo Mozarteum de la Habana Symphony Orchestra.

The concerts will take place on 4 and 12 March 2023 at the National Theater of Cuba in Havana.

In the words of the maestro, quoted in the statement, “these will be very beautiful concerts with difficult but very complex pieces” and therefore he feels “very motivated”.

From the very beginning, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 will be performed by an Italian pianist (Luigi Borzillo), whom the maestro wants to bring to Portugal later this year. In the same concert, Mendelshon’s First Symphony will be performed.

Then, at the second concert, in the company of the Mexican clarinetist Angel Zedillo, he will perform the Louis Sfora Concerto No. 2. In this concert, the maestro also conducts Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony.

“This is an international recognition of my work. An invitation that I accept with humility and great responsibility. I was surprised to learn that I would be the first Portuguese member of the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra. This is a very great honor,” the maestro said in a statement.

“I take with me the name of the city of Braga and Portugal with all the responsibility that goes with it, and I hope to do a good job there, leaving a good image and putting on great concerts. These will be very special concerts because, in addition to performing pieces that I love, especially Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky, I will be directing two wonderful soloists who are also my friends. It will be very beautiful,” concludes Filipe Cunha.

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