He must believe that the industrial Europe is making great strides. The union of Alstom and germany’s Siemens, to which the shareholders of the French group were given Tuesday night in their agreement enthusiastic to 95% of the vote, is a “merger of equals”, according to the CEO of Siemens Joe Kaeser. She will give birth to a “european champion”, according to Henri Poupart-Lafarge, chairman of Alstom in which the future role of DG is promised. The two rail specialists and the railway signaling, competitors, historical, accumulating more than $ 16 billion of sales in 2017, a result that is expected to grow to 20 million by 2023, according to their projections. What, apparently, stand in front of the chinese giant CRRC, which is trying to wrest markets in Europe and elsewhere.

Siemens will be the real boss

It is not, however, the “Airbus of the rail” some of whom continue to dream of. First of all because the French State has indicated that he would not go to the capital of the new company. Still, he had voting rights in Alstom, through the actions that it had Bouygues. Then, even if the whole “Siemens – Alstom” will be listed in Paris, it is actually Munich, where Siemens has its headquarters, which is preparing to take the bar, if the operation reaches its term beginning in 2019. According to the marriage contract, the company bavarian must bring its activities transportation (Siemens Mobility) to the new entity to become the majority shareholder with 50,67% of the share capital. It is, therefore, a redemption of Alstom, without even paying a euro. In four years it will increase to 52%.

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But the governance will give him the pre-eminence, with the right to appoint six of the eleven representatives to the board of directors, compared to four for Alstom. France seems to be clearly at a disadvantage. “There was no obligation to impose such an imbalance. A pattern of co-governance to the Airbus would have been better,” says Charles Pinel, managing partner of Proxinvest, a consulting firm to the shareholders. “The merger of equals was a decoy, tackle also Denis Branch, deputy general manager of the asset management company Phitrust, who called to vote against the deal at the general assembly. It should be recognized that, with its 83 billion of euros of turnover, Siemens AG, a group that remains very diverse compared to Alstom, is a figure of ogre.

Employment: legal guarantees, fixed-term

What about the different guarantees obtained by the French government, including that of preserving the sites of production and 9000 jobs on the national territory? They are not subject to any threat of sanctions in case of non-observance of the promises, and are only valid for a transitional period of four years. “After this date, even the transfer of the registered office is an option,” says-t-on chez Proxinvest. Recalling the previous General Electric, which has declined to create the 1000 jobs promised after having bought the branch energy, Alstom, Denis Branch is said just as skeptical.

concerns for the future, including the unions of Alstom are in unison the echo since the first announcement, last fall. Because there are many duplicates between the activities of the two groups: they both produce high-speed trains (TGV and ICE), regional trains, subways, trams, and road signs for the railway traffic. What impact will have on the workforce, the synergies envisaged, to the tune of 470 million euros a year? “In 2012, a study by AT Kearney has estimated that a merger of the branches transport, Alstom and Siemens could destroy up to 2,500 jobs. Eventually, that will happen to Belfort?”, stressed the mp LR Olivier Marleix, president of the commission of inquiry on the decisions of the State industrial policy.

The Commission can still veto

These duplicates industrial concern to the european Commission, but for another reason. Margrethe Vestager, commissioner for competition, opened on July 13, an in-depth investigation as to whether the proposed takeover would not deprive the railway companies of the european a offers diversified, slowing innovation, and finally to make up the price of the ticket paid by the passenger. The new entity would be an “undisputed leader” in the european market, puts it in guard. Regarding the chinese threat, which is supposed to justify this consolidation, it does not flood “in the foreseeable future.” The Commission, which can veto the redemption, must deliver it before the 21 November.

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A position which delighted Bernard Devert, head of the industry to the CGT, received in Brussels a few weeks ago with the trade unionists in france and belgium, Alstom: “We called for a GIE, on the model of Airbus, and I believe that we have been heard. Alstom and Siemens may have an industrial project in common, without losing their self-respective”, he says. He is hoping that Brussels will play a spoilsport for a new contract that preserves a little bit better the interests of Alstom sees the light of day. “I do not object to the merger with Siemens, but it would require the two parties to find other solutions”, adds Olivier Marleix. Still, even for these staunch advocates of a national industrial policy, the flagship of the French became too small to make a cavalier single.


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