PARIS Jan 15 Franco-American telecom gear group
Alcatel-Lucent will cut fewer jobs in France than
previously planned under moves to slash 10,000 posts worldwide
in an attempt to stem losses, its chief executive told Le Monde
The French share of the cuts will now amount to less than
700, down from 900 announced last year, Michel Combes told the
daily in an interview published on its website on Wednesday.
Alcatel has come under pressure over the cost-cutting plans
from France's ruling Socialist politicians, who are struggling
to tackle high unemployment and at one stage warned that the
government could use new rules to block the job cuts.
As recently as last week, Industry Minister Arnaud
Montebourg pressed Alcatel to make a bigger effort to preserve
jobs and facilities in France. Combes has said the restructuring
plan is its last chance to turn the company around.
The CEO said 170 out of the 250 research and development
staff at its Orvault site in northwestern France, which it is
closing, would switch to a specialist telecoms business set up
by engineering consultancy Altran.
Alcatel was also holding talks with other companies in the
region, he told Le Monde.
Combes added that calls by politicians for French telecom
operators to rally around Alcatel had led to "concrete results".
In addition to a "small cell" mini-mobile antenna deal with
Orange, Vivendi's SFR recently picked Alcatel
to build its fibre optic network and could agree further
contracts, Combes said.
Alcatel was also in talks with Bouygues Telecom,
Numericable and Outremer Telecom over mobile and
France contributed 5.7 percent of 2012 revenue of 14.44
billion euros ($19.8 billion). Out of an overall workforce of
72,000, 8,300 are in France - less than half the number in 2006
following previous cuts.
($1 = 0.7306 euros)
(Reporting by Gwenaelle Barzic and James Regan; Editing by