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Alcatel-Lucent chief says job cuts, rethink necessary or company may 'disappear'

The chief executive of Alcatel-Lucent SA is warning that the telecommunications equipment maker could go under if it doesn't slash costs — and jobs.

Michel Combes spoke on Europe-1 radio Tuesday ahead of a protest by workers in Paris over 10,000 job cuts planned at the company.

It has lost money nearly every year since U.S.-based Lucent Technologies merged with France's Alcatel in 2006. It's among a string of once-successful cellphone makers that has struggled to keep up with fast-changing competition and technological shifts.

Combes said, "yes, this company could disappear," stressing that a restructuring plan he announced last week is aimed at saving Alcatel-Lucent from that fate.

The plan involves slashing 1 billion euros ($1.36 billion) in costs by 2015 and focusing research investment on next-generation technology.