Thomson-CSF bid decision hinges on national security
Friday 04 April 1997
But Mr Arthuis refused to comment on reports that the British electronics giant GEC had tabled a preliminary bid for the company, part of the French state-owned electronics conglomerate Thomson SA.
The French government has let it be known that it sees the fate of Thomson as part of a broader restructuring of the country's military-industrial complex.
Mr Arthuis said yesterday that the government's decision on the final bids, to be made by 7 May, would be shaped by the "credibility of the candidates ... their capacity to carry through their plans" and "factors related to national security".
The minister said Paris would declare which bidders had been admitted to the second, detailed stage of the auction by Monday at the latest.
A senior executive of one of the two French defence groups known to be in the bidding confirmed, however, that GEC had also thrown its hat into the ring.
Noel Forgeard, president and chief executive of Matra High Technologies, part of the Lagardere group, said that GEC had given advance warning of its bid.
He said Lagardere did not regard this as an unfriendly act by GEC, with which it shares the ownership of the Matra Marconi defence and satellite electronics company.
His comments furthered speculation that the GEC move was no more than a tactical ploy, and was mostly intended to place a marker for the British company's continued interest in alliances and joint ventures with the French industry.
British Aerospace, GEC's great rival, has indicated its support for the Thomson bid by Lagardere, with which it also has a joint venture.
The other French bidder is the space and telecoms company Alcatel Alsthom, in conjunction with the plane-maker Dassault.
But Lagardere was the chosen saviour for Thomson-CSF in the French government's first attempt to privatise the entire Thomson group, which was rejected by the official privatisation watchdog in December.
The French government owns 58.2 per cent of the shares of Thomson-CSF, a stake valued at pounds 1.3bn.
- 1 Kermit the Frog has a new girlfriend named Denise
- 2 The excuses your boss is most likely to believe when you call in sick
- 3 Moscow voted the world's unfriendliest city
- 4 I'm pansexual – here are the five biggest misconceptions about my sexuality
- 5 More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
The one chart that shows how George Osborne is almost certainly going to be our next Prime Minister
The excuses your boss is most likely to believe when you call in sick
Three-year-old ultra-Orthodox Jewish children told 'the non-Jews' are 'evil' in worksheet produced by London school
Bono's group has made more money from Facebook investment than from all his music
Wikipedia rocked by 'rogue editors' blackmail scam targeting small businesses and celebrities
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
iJobs Money & Business
£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company was established in...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40k: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 busi...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 ...
£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are a vibrant and establishe...