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January 3, 1988


By CBR Staff Writer

Robert Bosch GmbH of Stuttgart has moved on its negotiations with Jeumont-Schneider SA of France (CI No 814) to take as much as an 80% stake in its JS Telecommunications unit by mid-1988. The companies signed an agreement for the West German telecommunications equipment and auto electronics maker to take an initial 35% stake in JS Telecommunications, which is also involved in electrical engineering. The agreement also gives Bosch the right to increase its stake to as much as 80% in the second half of next year, in a transaction valued ataround $148m. The transaction is still subject to approval by the French government but all the signs are that the deal is being looked upon favourably. Bosch and Jeumont-Schneider are already involved in a joint venture, signed in 1985, to develop digital PABX equipment together. Robert Bosch is pursuing a strategy of increasing its involvement in telecommunications. In November 1987 it announced a link through its Telenorma affiliate with the West German subsidiary of Philips NV and with the ANT Nachrichtentechnik news agency and electronics firm to create a third European consortium for the panEuropean digital cellular radio market. The other two consortia are Orbitel, made up of Plessey, Racal Electronics and L M Ericsson, and a group consisting of Alcatel, Nokia of Finland and AEG of West Germany. Bosch also announced at the beginning of December 1987 announced that it was to take control of ANT Nachrichtentechnik GmbH, in which it already owned a 40.8% stake, by buying Mannesmann AG’s 40.8% share in the company. ANT had turnover of $790m in 1986. Bosch also plans to increase its interest in Telefonbau & Normalzeit Lehner & Co, Telenorma, to 85% from 55%. Jeumont Schneider had profits equivalent to UKP8m on turnover of UKP140m in 1986 and its share of the French PABX market is put at between 25% and 40%. But the company is being squeezed out of its home territory by large firms such as Northern Telecom of Canada, which announced in October 1987 that it intends to build a PABX factory in France, and Alcatel NV, which combines CGE’s telecommunications interests with the European subsidiaries of ITT Corp to create a group second only to AT&T in the worldwide telecommunications switching market. Jeumont-Schneider is keen to forge other links, and as well as the Bosch deal the French company is also negotiating joint development of PABX equipment with Plessey in the UK.

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