Arnaud Montebourg, France’s minister of industrial renewal, has “forcefully reaffirmed” with Alcatel-Lucent the notion it must maintain as many jobs as possible in the country.
The pressure comes as the company is in talks about selling its enterprise unit, a further cash-raising move as the vendor seeks to improve its balance sheet, according to Bloomberg.
Montebourg also said he had urged the country’s mobile operators to support Alcatel-Lucent, and they had responded to the plight of their national counterpart.
“This mobilisation with telecommunications operators has already helped lead to new partnerships with each of them and new revenue opportunities for Alcatel-Lucent,” he said.
In return, he expected the vendor to act with “the same sense of responsibility” in regards to job cuts, as well as maintaining its industrial base in France.
Meanwhile Alcatel-Lucent is in talks with a number of possible buyers for its enterprise unit including Unify, a joint venture between The Gores Group and Siemens, according to a number of people familiar with the matter.
The German company operates in a similar market to Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise which offers fixed, mobile, and converged networking hardware, IP technologies, software, and service to corporate customers. The unit may be valued at up to €250 million ($182 million).
Bidders are currently preparing second-round bids with a decision possible before the end of March, said sources. The unit had 2012 revenues of €764 million but made an operating loss of €12 million.
Other interested buyers include an industrial company from outside the US and a Chinese investor.
Last month, Alcatel-Lucent sold its LGS unit for $200 million. The unit provides secure networking, satellite communications, VoIP, optical routers and other solutions for US national security, defence and advanced research communities.
The company has a goal of generating €1 billion in asset disposals by 2015.
Alcatel-Lucent and Unify declined to comment.