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Last Updated: Monday, 17 May, 2004, 14:09 GMT 15:09 UK
EU nears deal on Alstom bail-out
European Union Commissioner for Competition Mario Monti, right, with French Finance Minister Nicolas Sarkozy
The two sides hope to complete a deal by the end of the week
France and the European Union have found common ground to frame a deal over the bail-out of troubled engineer Alstom SA.

Agreement could come by the end of the week, EU Competition Commissioner Mario Monti said after meeting French Finance Minister Nicolas Sarkozy.

The French state, along with private banks. has prepared a 3.2bn euro ($3.8bn; 2.17bn) rescue plan.

But the scheme needs the approval of the commission, the EU's executive arm.

'Positive decision'

Mr Monti announced that once an agreement was reached, he would be able to recommend the other commissioners come on board.

"We are very close to an accord involving commitments by French authorities concerning the Alstom group, which should be finalized before the end of this week," he said.

Share in Alstom rose in Paris rose by 9.57%, to 1.25 euros, in response.

Alstom builds power stations, ships and rolling stock for the high-speed TGV train.

Written agreement

An upbeat Mr Sarkozy said the deal should provide "satisfaction" for both sides.

"Once the bases of an agreement has been finalised they be drawn up in written form. We will then obviously make them public, along with Mr Monti," he said.

The final deal, he added, would meet the needs of the commission - which does not want any bail-out to distort competition - and of the French, who have "made commitments to ensure the future of the great industrial group".

France has been criticised since announcing the rescue plan last September.

The scheme would prevent Alstom's potential collapse with the loss of thousands of jobs.




SEE ALSO:
Alstom in the red as orders slide
13 Nov 03  |  Business
New Alstom rescue deal unveiled
22 Sep 03  |  Business
EU blocks Alstom rescue plan
17 Sep 03  |  Business
French PM upbeat on Alstom
22 Sep 03  |  Business
Alstom confirms huge job cuts
10 Aug 03  |  Business


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