ALSTOM’s annual shareholders’ meeting on July 2 approved the reduction of the nominal value of the company’s shares from €6 to €1·25, and authorised the board of directors to increase the share capital by the issue of shares, with maintenance of preferential subscription rights.

Chairman & Chief Executive Patrick Kron said the capital increase was ’an important step in our programme to strengthen the balance sheet of the company; it will be implemented when we have adequate visibility on the disposal of our Transmission & Distribution sector and on the refinancing of the part of our debt due to mature in the course of next year.’

As a result of the losses during the 2002-03 financial year no dividend will be paid.

Kron told the meeting that ’in our full-year results announcement on May 14 we reported a slow-down in orders during fiscal year 2003, particularly during the final quarter of the year, reflecting the weak global economy, tightening financial markets and sharp deterioration in the worldwide power-generation equipment market.

’While these difficult market trends continue, we expect order intake for the first quarter 2003-04, on a comparable basis, to be above the preceding quarter’s level (k3·4bn), although well below the high level registered during the equivalent period last year (k5·2bn).’

Alstom is ’actively implementing’ its action plan, and has ’already secured €1·5bn proceeds from disposals’. Action is being taken ’aiming at improving our operational performance’. n