According to information from the “World,” Alstom has requested the bank Rothschild to imagine a financial arrangement to resume the rail business of Thales.
The process is rare for a firm which is usually very discreet. In this beginning of autumn, Thales has decided to strong typing of the fist on the table to finish with the attempts to purchase by Alstom of its branch railway. Monday, October 24, Patrice Caine, to its CEO, has taken pen to paper to write to the president of the Republic, François Hollande, and his prime minister, Manuel Valls, but also to four other ministers : Ségolène Royal (environment), Jean-Yves Le Drian (defence), Michel Sapin (economy and finance) and Christophe Sirugue (industry).
No way to get rid of its transport division, said in substance this letter of two pages, the tone courteous but firm. The signaling activity is at the heart of the group’s activities. And this strategy has been approved by the two major shareholders united in a pact that are Dassault Aviation (up 24.9 %) and the State (26 %), the latter also being shareholder of Alstom 20 %.
This is not the fault of the have repeated in recent months : this activity, which represents 15 % of turnover is 1.5 billion euros, which is complementary to the other. the ” The links are growing stronger, thanks to the transversal competences, such as cyber security or the technologies of big data, reminded us in July, Patrice Caine in The World. in We apply as well to the avionics that the control of air traffic, television, aircraft or railway signalling. “
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promising Market and profitable
The arguments have obviously not convinced since in the same time, according to our information confirmed by several sources, Alstom has requested the bank Rothschild to imagine a financial package of recovery activities transportation of Thales, in order to trigger their offensive in November. The group led by Henri Poupart-Lafarge denies ” categorically that he had given a mandate to the bank “, and, therefore, to consider a proposed takeover in the immediate
However, the group wants even more than before to put the hand on the branch, civil Thales for, both, grow, and dominate one of the most promising markets and remunerative to the railway sector. The State, which comes to give a stay of several years at the Belfort site by ordering a dozen of TGV trains, would not necessarily insensitive to this solution, as much as some in the government departments are sometimes tempted by a game of construction industry, notably in Bercy.
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In a note to five points, dated 17 June on the situation of Alstom, addressed to their ministers of guardianship, Emmanuel Macron to the industry, and Michel Sapin to the economy, Martin Vial, the head of the Agency of the interests of the State, and Pascal Faure, head of the Directorate-general for enterprise, have argued for the contribution to Alstom signaling Thales, more cost-effective than the manufacture of locomotives. But this initiative could give rise to a conflict of interest, Martin Vial, being a director of Thales and Pascal Faure, a director of Alstom since July… For more, never at the board of Thales representatives of the State have referred to this hypothesis. On the contrary, it is unanimously agreed that the strategic decisions have been approved.
it was Defended by Patrick Kron, the former CEO of Alstom, and then by his successor, Henri Poupart-Lafarge, the acquisition of the activities transport of Thales, would enable the group as the number one global signaling, in front of Siemens, and surpass the 8 billion euros of turnover, compared with 6.9 billion made last year.
Historically, Alstom and Thales have developed their system of signaling in a manner very distinct. The first building on its expertise in the trains, the second by exploiting its know-how in the field of software development. The two entities are therefore complementary.
The public authorities to calm the game
Together, they account for nearly a quarter of the world market for signaling, an increase of nearly 5 % for the past two years. With the increasing urbanization and population pressure, the need for automation of the subways with new or existing subways, as well as increased rates of rail lines installed, often saturated, are immense. According to Unife, the european association of manufacturers of the sector, the market for control systems is increased from 12 to 14 billion euros of revenue between 2013 and 2015, and is expected to grow 2.9 % per year by 2021. The margins in this business are two to three times greater than in the construction of trains.
” After transferring to the State the issue of the closure of Belfort, Alstom is trying to do the same for the railway signaling “, notes one observer. But at the government level, everything is done to calm the game. It is not necessary to question the strategic choice of Thales, the risk being to shatter the shareholders ‘ pact forged with Dassault Aviation. The Elysée, and the defense is against this operation, sharing the arguments of Patrice Caine. Bercy also finally put away, believing now that this operation is not valid.
In addition, you can’t add in this pre-election period, the record Alstom Belfort is already very difficult to manage. It is this as yet attempted to make Arnaud Montebourg. In a letter published on 26 September, the current candidate for the primary of the left to the presidential election suggested that the solution for ‘save’ Alstom claws of CRRC, the chinese giant rail transport with which Thales has signed a trade agreement this summer.
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” The combination of Alstom and Thales Transportation, it is still waiting, slips a source at the top of the State. the It fell apart today, especially on questions of ego. To get there, it would first that Alstom and Thales to demonstrate that they can cooperate on a variety of topics, for example on the train’s digital future. Tackle the subject head-on by speaking an assignment from Thales to Alstom, it won’t go. The leaders of the two companies do not get to speak calmly. “