Siemens and Framatome are merging their entire nuclear business. Framatome will hold a 66 per cent stake, Siemens 34 per cent, starting in the third quarter of 2000.

The merger announcement followed restructuring of France’s nuclear industry, opening the way to form the base of a pan-European industrial force.

The finance ministry brokered a deal between Alcatel, Thomson CSF and Cogema, increasing the latter’s stake in Framatome from 50 to 80 per cent. The government will buy 34 per cent of Framatome from Alcatel in a £1.6 billion deal. Alcatel will receive a 9.5 per cent stake in Thomson CSF. The state will then transfer the 34 per cent Framatome stake to Cogema.