PARIS Dec 17 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 agreed 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 on Monday the government was worried that
Alacatel-Lucent was being asked to put up such valuable assets
as collateral, and as a result was looking for ways to reduce
the amount the group needs to borrow or lessen the collateral.
Two main approaches are being weighed - helping
Alcatel-Lucent sell assets, such as its submarine cable and
enterprise businesses, or setting up a consortium to monetise
the patents. The second approach would allow outside groups to
invest while keeping Alcatel-Lucent as a co-owner of its
An Alcatel-Lucent spokeswoman declined to comment on the
The French government has remained relatively quiet in
recent months as Alcatel-Lucent posted second and third
quarter-losses and announced a programme of cuts affecting 5,500
"The government is following the situation at Alcatel-Lucent
very closely, and is in regular dialogue with the management,"
said an advisor to Fleur Pellerin, the junior minister for the
"Above all, we want the decisions that are made to be in the
long-term interest of the company."
A Paris-based trader said the government's interest in
Alcatel-Lucent's financing deal was unlikely to come to much.
"The French government is lobbying to reduce the perimeter
of the collateral but it won't and can't block the Goldman Sachs
and Credit Suisse loans since it cannot afford to directly loan
Alcatel the cash it needs in the next three years," said the
"This loan will go through, Alcatel has run out of options."
Caisse de Depots et Consignations, the government fund that
manages pensions and investments for the state, owns 3.6 percent