Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Alstom : the issues that arise from the purchase of TGV by the State – The Echoes

For employees of Alstom in Belfort, it is the relief : the government, as it was committed, announced on Tuesday a series of measures which avoids the site to the restructuring to which it seemed to promise, with 400 jobs threatened by 480. But the inventiveness demonstrated by the executive raises a number of questions.

most of The levers actuated are familiar with. The SNCF is going to take his hand, with an order of 6 trains TGV to the Paris-Turin-Milan. The negotiations for months achoppaient on the price. Under pressure from the State, the public company and Alstom have finally marked for an amount slightly less than 200 million euros. SNCF Network will also have to buy 20 locomotives ” for the relief of trains in failure “, indicates the communiqué of the government, for a cost of 80 million euros. the ” there was a need, the current fleet was more than 30 years of age average “, provides a framework.

15 TGV the euroduplex ordered by the State

Alstom, for its part, will invest $ 30 million by 2018, ” to develop and industrialize a platform of locomotives for manoeuvre hybrid or diesel “. 5 million will be devoted to the modernization of the industrial tool to make it ” the european reference centre on the maintenance of locomotives “. And the direction will at least the same amount to respond to the diversification of the site, in particular to the production of electric buses.

This is for the classic. What is less clear, it is the command of 15 TGV the euroduplex that will pass the State to his own account. the ” The State will for the first time of the trains TGV on its balance sheet, “, leading specialist of railway transport. The operation of high speed lines is the responsibility of the SNCF. But the executive, who was accused of charging to the excess of the barque of the public company, has decided not to impose a new burden. Much to the relief no doubt of Guillaume Pepy, the boss of the public group.

Activity secure until 2021

These 15 trains should secure permanently the activity of Belfort by 2021, at which date the “TGV of the future” should take over. But the contortions to achieve this challenge. The State has the upper hand on the lines City, it is on this network that will operate 15 trains TGV, and, more particularly, on the line Bordeaux-Marseille. It will make rolling a Formula 1 on a highway, since the high-speed train designed for a cruising speed of 300 km/hour, rarely exceed, on these traditional routes, the 200 km/hour. For the delegate CFDT Alstom Patrick Cara, this is nothing shocking: ” the TGV that we are going to build in the United States will also well below their top speed. “.

In addition, a train TGV displays of operating costs 30 % higher, even at a reduced speed. And it costs to purchase 30 million euros, or 450 million euros approximately for the order announced Tuesday, even if the actual price remains to be negotiated between the State and Alstom. It is, therefore, nearly double the number of a train-City classic. It is only a transitional situation, argues the government : these trains have to circulate on the line Bordeaux-Marseille ” in anticipation of the arrival of high-speed lines: Bordeaux-Toulouse and Montpellier-Perpignan “. They will get at this time their first vocation. But the funding of these two new high-speed line is far from be finished, and they will not be built, at best, until 2024.

VIDEO Alstom : understand the plan of rescue of Belfort in 1 minute

Help in disguise ?

Several observers have also pointed to the risk that Brussels sees in the operation of a State aid in disguise. But for Marianne Clayton, partner in the law firm Clayton&Segura, ” it is not within the competence of the european Commission to decide whether the French State has reason or not to buy a TGV, but rather to ensure the respect of the rules relating to State aid. What matters from a legal point of view is to check if the prices and market conditions have indeed been met. “ which seems to be the case.

neither the State Nor the SNCF, finally, are passed through a call for tenders. This has been possible, provides a source, through a framework agreement signed in 2007 between the SNCF and Alstom. But the State would a priori not signed this framework contract.


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