Alstom denies Siemens tie-up

28th April 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, April 28 (AFP) - The head of struggling French heavy engineering group Alstom insisted Wednesday that a tie-up with German rival Siemens was not under consideration, a union source said.

PARIS, April 28 (AFP) - The head of struggling French heavy engineering group Alstom insisted Wednesday that a tie-up with German rival Siemens was not under consideration, a union source said.

"A rapprochement with Siemens is absolutely not being considered, which neither our shareholders nor our employees nor our clients want," Alstom chairman Patrick Kron was reported to have written in an internal note to employees.

An Alstom spokeswoman had earler said the company "had not had any contact with Siemens management (and) our position is that there are no discussions with Siemens."

Chairman Heinrich von Pierer was also quizzed about Siemens' intentions regarding Alstom Wednesday.

He revealed that he had talked with French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin about Alstom at a lunch in Paris earlier this week but did not disclose what had been discussed.

A report in the Wednesday edition of the French daily La Tribune had said Paris was looking for new solutions for Alstom, including a tie-up between Alstom and one or more companies including Siemens.

Von Pierer told CNBC news channel that Siemens would not push for a tie-up but would wait and see what came out of the current talks to rescue the French group.

But in a separate interview with German news channel, N-TV, von Pierer again hinted at Siemens' interest in parts of Alstom, calling for the creation of "European champions" in the industry.

"I continue to believe that it's necessary to create solid European champions," the chairman said.

"The French have given us an example" with the takeover of the Franco-German life sciences giant Aventis by French drug maker Sanofi-Synthelabo to form the world' third-biggest pharmaceuticals company, von Pierer said.

"My thinking in such matters is very European," he said.

But France's junior industry minister, Patrick Devedjian, told a radio interviewer Wednesday that the Siemens position on Alstom amounted to a dismantling of the French firm.

"The propspect of a dismantling is not terribly stimulating and we don't want it."

Alstom was saved from bankruptcy late last year thanks to a EUR 3.2-billion (USD 3.8 billion) rescue plan that would combine assistance from the state and private banks. The scheme needs approval from the European Commission, with a decision expected to at the end of June.

The group on Tuesday managed to a secure a suspension - until September 30 - in its financial commitments from the banks on a subordinated loan of EUR 1.5 billion as well as an older debt of EUR 900 million.

© AFP

                                            Subject: French news

 

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