European rail deal will give Germany control and risking jobs: French unions

Henri Poupart-Lafarge, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Alstom, shakes hands with Siemens President and CEO Joe Kaeser (L) at a news conference to announce their deal to merge their rail operations, creating a European champion, in Paris, France, September 27, 2017. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe
Vastavam web: Investors welcomed a merger of the rail businesses of Germany’s Siemens (SIEGn.DE) and France’s Alstom (ALSO.PA), billed as creating a European champion, but French unions and politicians said France was giving Germany control and risking jobs.The tie-up, set to help the companies counter the rise of China’s state-owned CRRC 601776.SS, represents an industrial win for French President Emmanuel Macron, who is proposing sweeping reforms for Europe, including deeper trade cooperation.
But this may be changing. In another sign of France’s willingness to make concessions on the ownership of strategic interests, an Italian government source said shipbuilder Fincantieri (FCT.MI) was poised to take effective control of shipyard group STX France, ending a lengthy dispute.On the railway deal, France’s finance ministry said it had secured a commitment from Siemens to safeguard Alstom’s French manufacturing plants and jobs for a four-year period after the deal closes. A German trade union said they had got the same guarantees.Pascal Novelin, a CGT unionist said: “Transport in France is a strategic asset and they’re selling it off. No industry is safe.”
While Joe Kaeser, CEO of Siemens, acknowledged there would be job losses, he said they would be in support functions such as human resources rather than in engineering.“Of course there will be redundancies, that’s part of the synergies,” told a news conference.Alstom shares jumped as much as 8.5 percent and Siemens rose 2 percent as analysts focused on the cost savings. They closed up 4.2 and 1.2 percent respectively.