The Globe and Mail reports in its Thursday edition that Bombardier is closing in on a deal for its rail business from French industrial giant Alstom SA as its five-year turnaround plan sputters. A triple-bylined item led by Nicolas Van Praet says that the Montreal plane and train maker is trying to pare its heavy debt load and is looking at drastic options to generate cash, including unloading one of its two main business units. Several European media outlets are reporting a pending deal. Germany's Handelsblatt newspaper said that a deal with Alstom has been struck at seven billion euros ($10-billion) and will be announced Thursday. France's BFM business channel said Alstom was also ready to make a firm offer. Bombardier will release fourth-quarter results this morning. Regulatory approval is a big hurdle for any train deal. Last year, European regulators blocked the planned merger of Europe's two largest train makers, Alstom and Germany's Seimens, over competition fears. Quebec Premier Francois Legault characterized the talks as centred on Bombardier's train business, as well as its joint venture with Airbus and Quebec to make the Airbus A220 jet, formerly the C Series. Bombardier employs 12,600 people in Quebec.
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