Is Alcatel On Hold?

If anyone understood how to crack Europe's common market, it was Alcatel Chairman Pierre Suard. The French telecommunications mogul broke into Europe's clubby national phone markets with a string of coups, starting with the 1987 purchase of ITT Corp.'s $6 billion equipment business. Suddenly, Alcatel looked like a local champion in almost every major country--and locked up 30% of the European market for phone switch and transmission gear. Profits at parent Alcatel Alsthom soared, reaching $1.3 billion last year.

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