Alcatel-Lucent chief warns company may collapse

Oct 15, 2013, 6:00 AM EDT
Telecommunications equipment maker Alcatel-Lucent new chief executive Michel Combes addresses the group's general meeting on May 7, 2013 in Paris.
AFP/Getty Images

PARIS (AP) — The chief executive of Alcatel-Lucent SA is warning that the telecommunications equipment maker could go under if it doesn't slash costs — and jobs.

Michel Combes spoke on Europe-1 radio Tuesday ahead of a protest by workers in Paris over 10,000 job cuts planned at the company.

It has lost money nearly every year since U.S.-based Lucent Technologies merged with France's Alcatel in 2006. It's among a string of once-successful cellphone makers that has struggled to keep up with fast-changing competition and technological shifts.

Combes said, "yes, this company could disappear," stressing that a restructuring plan he announced last week is aimed at saving Alcatel-Lucent from that fate.

The plan involves slashing 1 billion euros ($1.36 billion) in costs by 2015 and focusing research investment on next-generation technology.