Renovation of RER B trainsets at the Alstom plant in Reichshoffen, Alsace, October 4, 2019PATRICK HERTZOG
Alstom will sell the Spanish company CAF its regional train plant in Reichshoffen (Bas-Rhin), which employs 760 people, the French manufacturer of railway equipment announced on Wednesday.
This sale, in return for the acceptance by the European Commission of Alstom’s merger with the Canadian company Bombardier, also includes its regional train platforms “Coradia polyvalent” and “Talent 3”, the latter being “currently being developed in Hennigsdorf, in Germany, “said the railway manufacturer in a joint statement with CAF.
The Iberian company “is pleased with this transaction which will allow it to continue its development thanks to the skills and know-how of the sites concerned”. From the same source, “The closing of the transaction is scheduled between April and September 2022”. However, the amount was not immediately disclosed.
CAF won after the withdrawal of the other competing buyer, the Czech Skoda Transportation, according to the daily Les Echos.
Exclusive negotiations with Skoda had not resulted in the deadline of July 31, and an additional period had been granted to Alstom by the Commission to find a buyer. Besides Skoda, CAF had come forward but the Japanese Hitachi had not followed up.
The Reichshoffen unions had expressed their preference for the Spanish group over Skoda – namesake but unrelated to Volkswagen’s automotive subsidiary -, considering its “technical capacity” and its “commercial base” to be superior.
In fact, Wednesday, the spokesperson for the intersyndicale CGT / FO / CFE-CGC of Reichshoffen, Daniel Dreger, greeted “news that reassures employees”, CAF being “winning a lot of contracts and nibbling market share (…) They have a substantial workload compared to what Skoda could bring us “.
“In addition, you should know that Alstom does not let us down, Alstom brings us a workload until mid-2026, as regards studies and industrial production”, Mr Dreger told AFP. .
“Even after the sale, we will remain in a consortium for the production of Regiolis trains, in particular hydrogen, so the Reichshoffen site will continue to produce Regiolis trains, for which some orders are still awaited in France”, he added. .
He matched this satisfaction with a caveat: “of course, there is bitterness in leaving Alstom (…) it is a group of 75,000 people, here we are going to join a group made up of 4,500 to 6,000 people. in Europe”. “Everything we had obtained at Alstom, we will have to fight at CAF to obtain agreements, and that will not be an easy task,” also warned the union official.
At the start of 2021, Alstom completed the absorption of its competitor Bombardier Transport for 5.5 billion euros, becoming the world number 2 in railway construction behind the Chinese CRRC but ahead of the German Siemens Mobility.