Monday, February 6, 2017

Alstom : the order of trains at the site of Belfort confirmed “before the end of February” – Le Figaro

The secretary of State for Industry, Christophe Sirugue, assured on Monday that this order to which is committed the State in October to save the industrial site was still relevant. A note of Bercy, according to which the plan of rescue of the factory TGV would not be viable legally, had cast a doubt.

The secretary of State for Industry Christophe Sirugue has indicated Monday to AFP that the order of fifteen trains TGV train to the factory, Belfort, to which is committed the State in October to save the industrial site would be confirmed “before the end of the month of February”. “We will confirm the order before the end of the month of February,” he assured, adding that it would specify the terms on 17 February on the occasion of a follow-up committee on this dossier provided by the ministry of Economy.

To save the Belfort site and maintain some 400 jobs, the government had announced in early October an order for 15 additional trains TGV. These trains, double-level, designed to achieve 320 km/h are intended to roll on the line Intercité Bordeaux-Marseille. At the time, this order, for an amount of approximately 400 million euros, had been harshly criticized, especially because of its cost, considered disproportionate, since the trains can not exceed 200 km/h on this line, for the moment not adapted to very high speed.

This acquisition is ultimately threatened? According to Echoes, there would be a legal obstacle. To go fast and not to burden the accounts of SNCF, the State had decided to place the order himself while the train operator takes care of that usually. To achieve this, the State had transformed the purchase agreement by simple amendment to a framework contract passed in 2007 between the State and the railway company. However, the legal service of Bercy considers that this is not a viable option.

“The State may not conclude a protocol to transfer, even partial, with the SNCF and Alstom in order to take advantage of that market in the course of execution without violating the principle of equality of treatment,” says a note from Bercy dated 2 December, quoted by the Echoes. “This partial sale of the contract would necessarily caused by the initial conditions of competition and constitute therefore an abuse of process.” Clearly, the jurists of Bercy believe that this maneuver violated the rules of competition insofar as there has been no bidding.

But the government and the local elected officials swear that the rescue plan of the site belfortain “rest of news”. “The State services work order for (15-trains TGV) can be passed,” said Hugues Besancenot, prefect of the Territory of Belfort. The note of Bercy is “an analysis based on a hypothesis that is not good”, he argued. The order is “absolutely not “questioned”, said Marie-Guite Dufay, president (PS) of the Region Burgundy Franche-Comté, relating a telephone conversation on Monday morning with Guillaume Pépy, president of SNCF.

A meeting of the monitoring committee meets this Monday at Belfort and another is scheduled for 17 February at Bercy. According to Echoes, the SNCF could buy 15 trainsets in question on request of the State, which would remain the main financial. But with the approach of presidential elections and a likely change of majority, the railway company would not like these new trains. This issue should be discussed at the next board of directors of the SNCF at the end of the month of February.


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