Nissan Motor Co. (NSANY) lowered its full-year profit outlook Tuesday, citing consistently challenging market conditions, and said it booked an $84 million charge linked to the underreported salary of ousted chairman Carlos Ghosn.
Japan's second-largest carmaker cut its full year profit forecast by around 16.6%, to 450 billion yen, even as it lowered its projection for the Japanese currency to 110.6 against the U.S. dollar. The cut followed a weaker-than-expected profit of 103.3 billion yen for the three months ending in December.
Nissan also lowered its full-year north American sales forecasts by around 5.6% to 1.916 million vehicles, a modestly larger reduction than the 5.4% cut it made to global sales, which it now sees at 5.925 million.
Nissan shares closed at 931 yen each in Tokyo Tuesday, rising 1.87% on the session prior to the release of its third quarter earnings after the bell. The stock, however, has fallen around 10.3% over the past six months, in line with many other global automakers, as demand in key markets such as China tumbled amid slowing economic growth and trade tensions with Washington clipped north American deliveries.
Ghosn, who was arrested in Japan in November of last year and has remained in custody since then on changes of under-reporting his salary for around 8 years and breaching rules on pension transfers. Ghosn has said the accusations were part of a plot by Nissan executives who opposed his plans to deepen ties with French carmaker Renault SA (RNLSY) .
Last week, Renault, one of three members of the global auto alliance that includes Nissan and Mitsubishi Motor Co. (MSBHY) , found that Ghosn received around €50,000 worth of company money to pay for his wedding in 2016 and turned the matter over to French authorities. Ghosn was removed from his role as Renault chairman on January 24.
Renault owns 43% of Nissan, which sells far more cars each year, and only has a 15% sake in the Paris-based automaker -- equal to that of the French government -- in return. And while Japan's chief cabinet secretary, Yoshihide Suga, has said that it's important to maintain the alliance, some investors are wondering if Nissan may wish to extract itself from the tie-up in order to unlock some of the value trapped in the Ghson-led arrangement.
Ghosn stepped down from his role as CEO of Nissan last year as the 64-year old began paring back his position as the world's most visible auto executive amid escalating tensions with the French government and shareholder pressure to either merge its alliance with Nissan or deepen ties between the two auotmakers and Mitsubishi.
His 2017 payout, which included €7.4 million from Renault and €9.2 million over his final year at the helm of Nissan, was also approved following a 56% to 43% vote by shareholders even as the French government, which owns a 15% stake, rejected the compensation plan.
Ghosn won backing for another four-year term at the held of the Renault board in June, and told La Figaro newspaper in Paris that a plan for the future of the three-way alliance would be revealed "well before the end of my term, or even rather at the start."