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Alstom rescue is good news for Switzerland

Alstom's Swiss headquarters is in Baden Keystone

The French government has intervened to rescue the major industrial group, Alstom, from collapse.

This content was published on August 6, 2003 - 16:12

The announcement of a new financing package, including a capital increase, gives hope to Alstom’s 110,000 employees, of which more than 5,000 are in Switzerland.

Alstom is one of France’s flagship industrial concerns. The TGV high-speed train – a national symbol – is among its best-known products.

The €2.8 billion (SFr4.3 billion) rescue package contains a major contribution from the French state. Without it, the global specialist in energy and transport infrastructure would likely collapse under debts totalling almost €5 billion.

The deal still has to be approved by the European Commission in Brussels.

Swiss subsidiary

Alstom has seven production sites in Switzerland with a combined turnover of over SFr5 billion. Its Swiss business units specialise in power generation, transmission, distribution and transport.

Alstom’s power sector develops, produces and installs power stations around the world, while its transport unit supplies rolling stock to railway companies.

With 5,000 employees Alstom Switzerland is not only one of the concern’s most important national subsidiaries, it is also one of the major industrial employers in Switzerland.

Alstom hit the headlines in Switzerland back in April when it was disclosed that the company intended to slash 3,000 jobs across Europe – 470 of them in Switzerland.

Layoffs

The threat of mass layoffs prompted debate in Switzerland about whether European Union law could be enforced in the country.

Alstom’s chairman and chief executive has said that in addition to reducing the company’s debt he would like to sell off some areas of the operation and scrap 5,000 jobs worldwide.

The company ran up a €1.4 billion loss last year. The planned capital increase of €600 million – half of it coming from the French government – will go some way towards relieving the pressure on the group.

The package also foresees the creation of new credit lines worth €1.3 billion and the release of underwritten bonds to the value of €900 million.

swissinfo, Alexander Künzle (translation: Morven Mclean)

Key facts

Alstom Switerland employs 5,000 people.
Its main business units are Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution and Transport.
Alstom has seven Swiss production sites with a combined turnover of over SFr5 billion.
The company ran up a €1.4 billion loss last year.

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