September 26, 2017 / 8:31 PM / in 25 days

Siemens, Alstom join forces to create European rail champion

FRANKFURT/PARIS (Reuters) - German industrial group Siemens (SIEGn.DE) and French rival Alstom (ALSO.PA) agreed on Tuesday to merge their rail operations, creating a European champion to better withstand the international advance of Chinese state-owned CRRC (601766.SS).

FILE PHOTO: A scale model of a TGV high speed train with the logo of Alstom is seen before a news conference to present the company's full year 2016/17 annual results in Saint-Ouen, near Paris, France, May 4, 2017. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes /File Photo

Siemens will own 50 percent of the joint venture, the companies said, while Alstom will supply Henri Poupart-Lafarge as chief executive, helping to counter criticism that France is giving up control of another national industrial icon.

Annual synergies are estimated at 470 million euros ($554 million) in year four after the closing of the deal, a joint statement published on Alstom’s website showed.

“This Franco-German merger of equals sends a strong signal in many ways. We put the European idea to work and together with our friends at Alstom, we are creating a new European champion in the rail industry for the long term,” said Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser.

The deal is a blow to Canadian transportation group Bombardier (BBDb.TO), which also held talks with Siemens, sources have said, and which faces a separate battle this week to protect jobs in Quebec and Northern Ireland.

The Siemens and Alstom transport businesses, which span the French TGV and German ICE high-speed trains as well as signalling and rail technology, had combined sales of about 15 billion euros ($18 billion) in their last fiscal years, .

Reporting by Georgina Prodhan and Sudip Kar-Gupta; editing by Richard Lough

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