Paris (AFP)

Renault shareholders on Thursday narrowly backed the pay package of long-serving chief executive Carlos Ghosn, overcoming protests about an issue that has divided the carmaker and the French government for several years.

Shareholders voted in favour of a resolution on Ghosn's 7 million euro ($7.8 million) package for 2016 and his 2017 deal, which has yet to be defined.

The 2016 package received the backing of 53 percent of shareholders meeting in Paris, while the outline of the 2017 deal was backed by 54 percent.

The Brazilian-born head of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance was last year locked in a tussle with Renault shareholders who voted to reject his salary.

The shareholders' decision last year was not binding and the Renault board dismissed their concerns and signed off on Ghosn's salary.

The then-economy minister Emmanuel Macron, who swept to the French presidency in May, was a frequent critic of Ghosn's pay and the two also clashed over the state's influence over the carmaker.

Representatives for the government, which is Renault's biggest shareholder with a stake of nearly 20 percent, voted against Ghosn's pay packet on Thursday.

The vote on the 2017 salary was binding following the entry into force of a new law strengthening shareholder control over executive salaries.

Ghosn announced in February he was stepping aside as chief executive of Nissan after being widely credited with helping to save it from collapse, although he continues to lead the global alliance which added Japan's Mitsubishi to its ranks last year.

The carmaker is considering paying its top executives bonuses through a company based in the Netherlands, Reuters revealed this week, but Renault said no decision on such a procedure had yet been taken.

Renault's profits leaped 20 percent in 2016, driven by strong sales with net profit jumping by 19.7 percent to 3.54 billion euros.

Agence France-Presse

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