Moroccan government officials and Luc-Alexandre Ménard, Renault senior vice president of international operations, have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on acquisition by Renault of the Moroccan government's 38% stake in the Somaca automotive company.

Renault is to take 26% of Somaca equity by the end of September 2003, with transfer of the remaining 12% by the end of October 2005.

On completion of the operation, Renault and its subsidiary Renault Maroc - which currently holds 8% of equity - will jointly hold a 46% stake in Somaca. Other main shareholders are Fiat Auto and Peugeot, with 20% each, plus private investors holding a total of 14%.

At the same time, Renault and the Moroccan government signed an agreement for assembly of the L90 vehicle at the Somaca facility from the end of 2005. The L90 is an economical family car aimed at the Moroccan market and some export markets in the region.

During the first half of 2003, Renault sold 4,135 vehicles in Morocco, an increase of 9.7% on the same period in 2002. With a 17% share of the Moroccan market, Renault ranked third in a market that reached 24,186 units in the first half of 2003.