Alcatel-Lucent Drops Plans to Sell Submarine-Cable Division

Alcatel-Lucent SA, the French networking equipment maker that’s being acquired by Nokia Oyj, abandoned a plan to divest its submarine-cables business, having sounded out buyers over the past few years.

The Paris-based company will keep the unit as a wholly owned subsidiary, it said Tuesday. Permira Advisers LLP and PAI Partners SAS, as well as French sovereign fund FSI had weighed bids as early as in 2013, Bloomberg reported at the time. Alcatel-Lucent announced its intention to sell part of the unit in an initial public offering in July 2014, to give the business the firepower to seek acquisitions and expand outside telecommunications.

“We’re not satisfied with the options we have been given,” spokeswoman Valerie La Gamba said by phone, adding that Alcatel-Lucent’s objectives are to generate incremental value for the company and to provide the unit with means and the capital structure to grow and diversify. “ASN will be developed in the new group.”

Retaining the unit won’t affect the equipment maker’s goal to complete its combination with Nokia, Alcatel-Lucent said in a statement. Nokia Chief Executive Officer Rajeev Suri reiterated in an interview last month that he’s aiming to close the deal in the first half of next year.

The submarine unit, which includes Alcatel-Lucent’s last French production site in Calais, north of Paris, manufactures cables and operates a fleet of vessels that lay the connections. Alcatel-Lucent has installed more than 575,000 kilometers (360,000 miles) of cables and has been operating from Calais for more than a century.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.