France concerned about Alcatel loan deal: paper

Published December 17, 2012

| Reuters

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 in its Monday edition the government was working on two alternate responses - helping Alcatel-Lucent sell assets, such as its submarine cable and enterprise businesses, or setting up a consortium to monetize the patents.

This would allow outside groups to invest while keeping Alcatel-Lucent as a co-owner of its patents.

An Alcatel-Lucent spokeswoman declined to comment on the report.

The government has not intervened at Alcatel-Lucent even after it announced a job cut plan affecting 5,500 people.

Caisse de Depots et Consignations, the government fund that manages pensions and investments for the state, owns 3.6 percent of Alcatel-Lucent.

($1 = 0.7628 euro)

(Reporting by Leila Abboud; Editing by Dan Lalor and David Holmes)

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