General Electric’s scheme to avoid millions of euros in taxes in France

France — Investigation

Following its purchase in 2015 of the power branch of French engineering firm Alstom, General Electric put in place a vast tax avoidance scheme involving subsidiaries in Switzerland and the US state of Delaware to syphon off hundreds of millions of euros that would otherwise have been subject to taxes in France, according to an investigation by Mediapart’s online partner newsroom Disclose. What’s more, the scheme appears to have had the blessing of the French economy and finance ministry.

The other pledges GE failed to honour after acquisition of Alstom


US group General Electric (GE) last month announced it would axe more than 1,000 jobs from its energy arm in France, most of them at its gas turbine plant at Belfort, in the north-east of the country, which it bought from French firm Alstom in 2015. The news, which notably came two days after the European elections in France, caused uproar among trades unions and local politicians, and follows GE’s payment of a 50-million-euro fine earlier this year for failing to honour its pledge, when it acquired Alstom’s energy division, of creating 1,000 jobs by 2018. Mediapart has obtained the contract inked by GE and the French state in November 2014 which set the terms for the sale of the Alstom business, and it reveals that the US group has also failed to honour other commitments towards its operations in France.

Macron the destroyer of French industry

France — Opinion

In the immediate aftermath of the European elections, in which the ruling centrists lost to Marine Le Pen's far-right party, the French government has had to deal with impending job losses at three major industrial sites. It is, argues Martine Orange, the outcome of a deliberate policy by President Emmanuel Macron: the massive and organised destruction of French industry. Mediapart's finance and business writer says that as a result France runs the risk of being trapped permanently in austerity and unable to forge an industrial future for itself.

France slams EU veto of Alstom-Siemens rail merger

France — Link

When it was announced last year, the merger was hailed as the birth of an industry giant that would compete with a formidable Chinese rival.

General Electric faces fines in France for not creating pledged jobs

France — Link

US corporation General Electric faces fines of 50,000 euros for every job it promised but has failed to create after its purchase in 2014 of the energy arm of French engineering company Alstom, labour minister Muriel Penicaud has said.

Siemens and Alstom announce merger to form 'European champion'

France — Link

Germany's Siemens makes the inter-city ICE trains, while Alstom builds the French equivalent, TGV trains, and have combined sales of €15.3bn.

French government buys fast trains for slow tracks to save factory

France — Link

Ministers announce order for 15 high-speed trains, mostly for tracks on which they cannot run at top speed, to preserve jobs at Alstom plant.

Alstom resists French government bid to save Belfort plant

France — Link

Alstom CEO said the company will go ahead with closure of manufacturing at its historic train-building plant, affecting 400 staff, despite President Hollande's pledge to do 'everything' to halt the plan.

French government says it is not seeking more control of Alstom

France — Link

French industry minister said upping state's 20% stake in troubled engineering group, which announced a reorganisation of plants, was not planned 'at this moment in time'.

General Electric announces 6,500 job cuts across Europe, 765 in France

International — Link

The cuts follow GE's purchase of France's Alstom energy unit, but Paris warns US firm it must stick by pledge to replace lost jobs with new ones.

France to scrap subsidies for coal technology exports

France — Link

Export credits used for coal technology made by turbine maker Alstom 'should be used to invest in renewable energy', said ecology minister.

US hands France's Alstom record 772-million-dollar bribery fine

International — Link

The French engineering group admitted falsifying books to pay more than 75 million dollars in bribes worldwide for energy arm contracts.

US says Alstom, not GE, must pay 700m-dollar bribery fine

International — Link

US justice department insists the French group should pay the fine and not General Electric which recently bought Alstom's power division.

The Montebourg Method: French minister gives lesson in state intervention over Alstom deal

France — Analysis

Just a few weeks ago the chief executive of French company Alstom suggested that the group had no alternative but to sell its energy section outright to American firm General Electric. But then the economy minister Arnaud Montebourg stepped into the fray and brokered a deal, agreed last weekend, that offers considerably better prospects for one of France's flagship companies. And in doing so, says Martine Orange, the minister has not only scored a personal political victory, he has also shown that the state is not always powerless to intervene on the industrial landscape.

Merkel ally criticises French over Alstom deal

International — Link

Head of German parliament's economics committee says Paris acted with 'ice-cold national industrial interest' in taking stake in French firm.