Alcatel-Lucent's future at risk - CEO

Reuters

PARIS, Oct 15 (Reuters) - Alcatel-Lucent's futureis at risk after the telecoms company missed key technologicalshifts and has been in the red since 2006, its chief executiveMichel Combes warned on Tuesday as workers prepared to protestagainst job cuts.

The Franco-American group last week unveiled plans to slash10,000 jobs worldwide, including 900 in France, arguing the cutswere its last chance to stem years of losses and turn thecompany around.

Labour unions have called for workers to take the streets inParis on Tuesday to protest against the plans, which involveclosing several sites in the country.

The French government, battling against years ofde-industrialisation and high unemployment, has also warned itcould use new labour rules to block the plan.

"This company could disappear," Combes told Europe 1 radio,noting it had been loss-making since Alcatel, once one ofFrance's biggest conglomerates, merged with Lucent in 2006.

"The plan sets targets that are key to the survival of thecompany ... But it can obviously be improved. That's the pointof the social talks that begin today," he said.

Combes said he had four months to negotiate with unions theterms and the timeframe of the restructuring.

Combes, who took the helm of Alcatel-Lucent in April, saidhe had already put aside a plan by predecessor Ben Verwaayenthat aimed to completely end the group's activities in France.

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