Alstom to step up cost savings to cope with weak growth - paper

PARIS, Sept 18 Wed Sep 18, 2013 4:09am EDT

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PARIS, Sept 18 (Reuters) - French power and transport engineering firm Alstom will step up cost-cutting efforts to offset weakening growth prospects, CEO Patrick Kron told Les Echos on Wednesday.

Alstom shares fell 1.5 percent by 0746 GMT, posting the biggest drop in the CAC 40, France's blue-chip index.

"With uncertain perspectives in some geographic areas, and growth that's slower than I had anticipated 12 or 18 months ago, we need to intensify these savings," Kron told the business daily in an interview.

"This doesn't mean that we'll stop R&D (research and development) or that we'll stop investing ... but we'll tighten the bolts wherever it's possible."

A meeting of Alstom's European works council is planned on Wednesday, during which union representatives could be given more information on the company's planned cuts.

Earlier this month, newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche reported that Alstom was working on a global cost-savings plan, but the company said at the time that while it had taken measures to reduce its general and administrative expenses, it was not working on a restructuring or a layoff plan.

(Reporting by Natalie Huet; Editing by Louise Heavens)

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