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Europe

Does Thomson Need Help?

2:45 PM -- As the economic crisis reaches new lows with Nortel Networks Ltd. 's bankruptcy, there are growing concerns for the stability of significant French vendor Thomson S.A. (NYSE: TMS; Euronext Paris: 18453).

The company's newly installed CEO, Frederic Rose, stated in November last year: "We have not been optimising our assets to generate profits and cash. Addressing this is my absolute priority... Unprofitable business lines will be restructured or exited. Capital allocation will be strictly limited to those areas which can generate accretive returns. We must deliver improved profitability in 2009." (See Thomson Updates on Q3.)

Rose said then he was implementing cost cutting measures, and has since exited the North American retail telephony device market and completed the sale of its digital film equipment business.

But it looks as if the global downturn has been hindering Rose's efforts, as, according to this Reuters report, Thomson has been considering applying for support from a French government bailout fund.

Sacré bleu!

Thomson, which sells voice and video hardware and software to carriers and cable operators, and which generated €1.17 billion ($1.54 billion) in revenues in the third quarter of 2008, has had a rough 12 months, seeing its share price slip from €7.97 a year ago to €1.32 at the close of trading in Paris today, a fall of 83.4 percent.

— Ray Le Maistre, Première Frenchy, Light Reading

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