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France: Alstom's Accounting Woes

The French government is offering a hand to Alstom, the Paris engineering group under investigation for U.S. accounting improprieties. AREVA, a government-owned nuclear-energy group, offered on July 1 to buy Alstom's energy-transmission-and-distribution unit for an undisclosed sum. Alstom, which posted a $1.6 billion loss last year, is eager to reassure investors by raising cash but has had trouble finding buyers for some of its assets. On June 30, the day before AREVA's announcement, Alstom shares fell 4.5% when the company disclosed that it was taking a $58 million charge for understated losses at its U.S. transportation subsidiary. Alstom has suspended two of the unit's executives, and the FBI and Securities & Exchange Commission are investigating. EDITED BY Edited by Rose Brady

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