In a statement released 27 April, it was announced that the two companies signed a framework agreement which will involve cooperation of their sales networks to maximise their strengths on the markets and develop integrated projects as opportunities arise. It has been agreed that the cooperation should not be exclusive – the companies will continue to work with the most suitable partners and suppliers for each project.

Corresponding terms for the purchase of shares in Alstom’s hydro equipment business are currently under discussion. If given the go-ahead the operation would allow Alstom to fulfill a commitment made to the European Commission (EC) to set up a joint venture in this sector.

The French Government took shares in Alstom in July 2004 to support the company’s recovery. This deal was approved by the EC on condition that the State withdrew from Alstom’s equity by 2008 at the latest.

The sale is subject to the approval of EC antitrust authorities and to the closing of Alstom Marine disposal, which is planned to occur in the coming weeks.