ALSTOM SHAREHOLDERS voted to accept resolutions allowing the company to implement its amended financing plan at an Ordinary and Extraordinary Meeting held in Paris on July 9.

Two days previously the European Commission had confirmed its agreement to a May 26 plan (RG 7.04 p435) for the French state to participate in the rescue package. The French state becomes a 18·5% shareholder in Alstom, through the conversion of a 20-year loan into equity.

A total of 90·5% of the votes supported a capital increase with preferential subscription rights for up to €1·7bn, and a debt-to-equity swap for up to €700m reserved for creditors other than the French state, which has committed to exercising its preferential subscription rights in an amount of €185m in cash. It will also subscribe to this capital increase by conversion of debt up to a maximum of €500m within the limits of its preferential subscription rights, or of available shares after the exercise of preferential rights by other shareholders, to the extent that its shareholding does not exceed 31·5%.

The Commission has set several conditions to its approval of the package. Compensatory measures include divestments reducing the size of the group by a further 10% over and above the 20% reduction already committed in the restructuring plan. Alstom must also enter into one or more long-term partnerships in the transport and energy sectors, and these must be with firms not controlled by the French government. French authorities must also inform the Commission every three months on measures taken regarding partnerships.

The Commission also requires France to commit to opening up the French market for railway equipment.