Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Renault, was handed a fresh four-year term on Friday, telling shareholders the French automaker would turn a profit in 2011.
AFP - French carmaker Renault is on track to start turning a profit once again next year, chief executive Carlos Ghosn told shareholders Friday who handed him a new four-year term at the company's helm.
Battered by the global slowdown that has hit the car industry head-on, Renault last year posted a net loss of 3.1 billion euros, (4.1 billion dollars) mostly due to its share in Japan's Nissan and Sweden's Volvo.
Asked by a shareholder when Renault would get out of the red, Ghosn replied "in 2011 at the latest."
Brazilian-born Ghosn, who took charge of Renault in 2005, was re-elected for another term as chairman and chief executive by close to 84 percent of shareholders at a meeting in La Defense, the business district west of Paris.
His new mandate was to be endorsed by the board of directors later Friday.
A senior manager at Renault since 2002, Ghosn took over day-to-day operations in 2005 and finally became chairman and chief executive last year, and also heads Nissan.
Speaking to a Renault general meeting, Ghosn stressed that the carmaker's fortunes were bright.
The chief executive said Renault would likely reimburse before the 2014 deadline a multi-billion-euro loan from the French state to help France's number two carmaker weather the economic crisis.
"We will not wait for 2014 to reimburse it," Ghosn said.
Last year, President Nicolas Sarkozy's government rolled out an aid package of 7.8 billion euros for the car industry, of which six billion in preferential loans went to Renault and PSA Peugeot Citroen.
The French state is Renault's biggest shareholder, with a 15-percent stake.
Ghosn, 56, also defended a recent partnership between Renault, Nissan and Daimler to exchange shares and build environmentally-friendly small cars.
"By joining Daimler, we are entering the select club of carmakers that produce more than seven million cars per year," said Ghosn.
Born to Lebanese parents, Ghosn spent most of his childhood in Lebanon where he attended French schools and is a graduate of France's elite Polytechnique engineering school.
Date created : 2010-04-30