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'Good deal' for France, claims Alstom chief

'Good deal' for France, claims Alstom chief
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The boss of French rail and energy group Alstom claimed victory on Monday following the firms decision to sell off its power generation arm to US rival General electric.

Alstom chief Patrick Kron, insisted the 7.3 billion euro deal would protect French interests and save jobs.

“ It’s a good deal for Alstom whose activity and employment will be consolidated and it’s a good deal for GE whose industrial modus operandi is maintained and I think it also addresses the government’s concerns,” Kron said.

Both companies have plants next to each other in the north east of France. There were mixed views among the two firms’ workers.

‘‘In my opinion it’s an excellent thing. It will compliment what both GE and our neighbours do. It will also strengthen the Belfort region,’‘ said one GE employee.

But, one Alstom worker said: ‘‘They’ve promised one thousand new jobs. Will this be a thousand jobs net? What is going to happen with the joint ventures? We don’t know anything. For example we don’t know what is going to happen to the control and monitoring service. We’re really at the start.’‘

The French state approved the deal after securing an option to buy a 20 percent stake in Alstom from French construction group Bouygues on Sunday.

The government also insisted it has been given a promise of new jobs.

French Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg said: ‘‘GE said it would create 1,000 new jobs within three years. We said such promises are only worth believing if they are kept. Our answer was to agree on financial penalties. We will impose a fine of 50,000 euros for every one of those jobs that is not created. This is a precedent, that until now has never existed.’‘

Substantially different from its original offer, the new deal sees GE purchase Alstom’s gas turbine division, while the French firm will buy GE’s rail signalling arm. The two companies will also create equal joint ventures, in their, renewable, power grid and nuclear businesses.