PARIS (Reuters) - Alcatel Lucent is focused on its cost saving and repositioning plan and not on industry consolidation, its chief executive said in a newspaper interview after rumors this week of a tie-up with Finland's Nokia.
"There's no question of consolidation. There have already been phases of consolidation among telecoms equipment makers, just as there have been phases of organic growth," Michel Combes
told Le Figaro in response to a question about the rumors which lifted Alcatel shares earlier this week.
"Time will tell if other developments are necessary. My single and unique objective is to stayed focused on execution... (of the plan) which will allow us to return to the premier league," he said in a post-results interview.
Combes also came out in favor of allowing more consolidation in the world of telecom service providers - his industry's main clients.
He said investment in high-speed Internet depends on having "powerful" operators. Governments and industry players in France and elsewhere have called for a relaxation of EU antitrust policy with regard to the sector.
Alcatel announced a reduced first-quarter net loss earlier on Friday as it cut costs and trimmed unprofitable contracts.
Combes' plan, put in place last June, is aiming for 10,000 job cuts, 1 billion euros of asset sales, 1 billion euros in cost cuts, and a repositioning to focus the group on fewer products.
(Reporting by Andrew Callus; editing by Jason Neely)