Alstom president Henri Poupart-Lafarge, here on a visit to Valenciennes in February 2019. - ROMUALD MEIGNEUX / SIPA

  • Alstom is off to a good start in its acquisition of its Canadian competitor Bombardier Transportation.
  • In this sense, the French group has announced its intention to sell several of its sites, including that of Reichshoffen, in Alsace.
  • The goal ? Convince the European Commission to give the green light to this acquisition which would enable it to face the Chinese behemoth CRRC.

Alstom announced on Thursday that it would propose several measures to the European Commission in order to be able to buy out its competitor Bombardier Transport. One of them concerns the sale of the Reichshoffen production site in the Bas-Rhin. Sales of installations at a site in Germany would also be possible.

"To respond to the initial concerns of the European Commission [guardian of competition in Europe], Alstom, in coordination with Bombardier Transportation and the Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec (CDQP), today announces its intention to submit a number of commitments, ”said the group in a press release.

A production refocused on TGV

Alstom proposes in particular to sell its regional trains for the French market, Coradia Polyvalent, and its production site in Reichshoffen. It employs 900 people and was to manufacture new generation TERs, which consume 20% less energy.

The group also says it is ready to sell the Bombardier Talent 3 platform - self-propelled vehicles marketed in Germany and Austria - as well as "corresponding production facilities located at the Hennigsdorf site", north of Berlin, Germany. The company will also provide "third-party access to certain interfaces and products of the various Bombardier Transportation on-board signaling units and train control management systems."

Finally, the new set would refocus on Alstom's high-speed trains (TGV), after having transferred the contribution from Bombardier Transport to other high-speed trains (V300 Zefiro).

The European Commission will decide

These commitments "are subject to the approval of the European Commission," said Alstom, who believes that the acquisition of Bombardier Transportation "remains on track for a planned closing in the first half of 2021".

Alstom had notified last month its plans to buy its competitor Bombardier Transportation for 6 billion euros to the European Commission, which has until July 16 for a first review of the case. In February 2019, Brussels had vetoed a plan to take over Alstom by the German group Siemens, fearing an overly dominant position in Europe in railway signaling and high-speed trains.

With a combined turnover of more than 15 billion euros and an order book exceeding 75 billion, the Alstom-Bombardier marriage must create a powerful group, capable of facing the Chinese behemoth CRRC. The two groups currently have a virtual monopoly on rolling stock in France, where they collaborate regularly as on the Paris metro and RER.


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