France concerned about Alcatel loan deal - paper

PARIS Mon Dec 17, 2012 1:47am EST

PARIS Dec 17 (Reuters) - The French government is concerned about Alcatel-Lucent's plan to use patents as collateral for a 1.6 billion euro ($2.1 billion) loan because the intellectual property could fall into the hands of foreign banks, Les Echos newspaper reported.

On Friday, the loss-making telecom equipment maker said it had got an asset-backed loan from Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs to help it deal with upcoming debt maturities and fund its ongoing restructuring.

Les Echos said in its Monday edition the government was working on two alternate responses - helping Alcatel-Lucent sell assets such as its submarine cable and enterprise businesses, or setting up a consortium to monetise the patents, allowing outside groups to invest while keeping Alcatel-Lucent as a co-owner of its patents.

Alcatel-Lucent was not available to comment.

The government has not intervened at Alcatel-Lucent even after it announced a job cuts plan affecting 5,500 people.

The Caisse de Depots et Consignations, the government fund that manages pensions and investments for the state, owns 3.6 percent of Alcatel-Lucent.

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