The French share of the cuts will now amount to
less than 700, down from 900 announced last year, Michel Combes
told the daily in an interview published on its website on
Alcatel has come under pressure over the cost-cutting plans from
France's ruling Socialist politicians, who are struggling to
tackle high unemployment and at one stage warned that the
government could use new rules to block the job cuts.
As recently as last week, Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg
pressed Alcatel to make a bigger effort to preserve jobs and
facilities in France. Combes has said the restructuring plan is
its last chance to turn the company around.
The CEO said 170 out of the 250 research and development staff
at its Orvault site in northwestern France, which it is closing,
would switch to a specialist telecoms business set up by
engineering consultancy Altran <ALTT.PA>.
Alcatel was also holding talks with other companies in the
region, he told Le Monde.
Combes added that calls by politicians for French telecom
operators to rally around Alcatel had led to "concrete results".
In addition to a "small cell" mini-mobile antenna deal with
Orange <ORAN.PA>, Vivendi's <VIV.PA> SFR recently picked Alcatel
to build its fibre optic network and could agree further
contracts, Combes said.
Alcatel was also in talks with Bouygues Telecom <BOUY.PA>,
Numericable <NUME.PA> and Outremer Telecom over mobile and
France contributed 5.7 percent of 2012 revenue of 14.44 billion
euros ($19.8 billion). Out of an overall workforce of 72,000,
8,300 are in France — less than half the number in 2006
following previous cuts.
(Reporting by Gwenaelle Barzic and
James Regan; editing by Elaine Hardcastle)
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