The French privatisation commission has completed its deliberations on Compagnie Generale des Constructions Telephoniques, and has decided that the right price for the loss-making former ITT subsidiary is the equivalent of $82m. Intending bidders for shares in the company, only 20% of which may go to a foreign telecommunications corporation, now have to be in by March 2. A final decision on who gets the company, whose shares will not be offered to the public, may be made as soon as March 9. The limitation on direct foreign ownership means that the most appropriate course for foreign suitors – led by Siemens and AT&T-Philips, but also including L M Ericsson, Northern Telecom and perhaps even Plessey, despite an earlier rebuff will be to form a joint venture with a French company to make their bid. The most prominent candidates for such a venture are Matra SA and Jeumont-Scheneider SA, and Ericsson expects to corner Matra as its bidding partner. CGCT, which made losses of $33m on
450m turnover in 1985, the last year for which figures are available, is attractive to foreign telephone companies because it commands a 16% share of the French market for digital telephone exchanges.