FRANKFURT/PARIS, Sept 26 (Reuters) - German industrial group Siemens and French rival Alstom agreed on Tuesday to merge their rail operations, creating a European champion to better withstand the international advance of Chinese state-owned CRRC.
Siemens will own 50 percent of the joint venture, the companies said, while Alstom will supply Henri Poupart-Lafarge as chief executive, helping to counter criticism that France is giving up control of another national industrial icon.
Annual synergies are estimated at 470 million euros ($554 million) in year four after the closing of the deal, a joing statement published on Alstom's website showed.
"This Franco-German merger of equals sends a strong signal in many ways. We put the European idea to work and together with our friends at Alstom, we are creating a new European champion in the rail industry for the long term," said Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser.
The deal is a blow to Canadian transportation group Bombardier, which also held talks with Siemens, sources have said, and which faces a separate battle this week to protect jobs in Quebec and Northern Ireland.
The Siemens and Alstom transport businesses, which span the French TGV and German ICE high-speed trains as well as signalling and rail technology, had combined sales of about 15 billion euros ($18 billion) in their last fiscal years, . ($1 = 0.8499 euros) (Reporting by Georgina Prodhan and Sudip Kar-Gupta; editing by Richard Lough)