A worldwide slump in telecommunications equipment sales has prompted two of Europe’s largest companies in the field, Marconi and Alcatel, to realise assets by selling the remainder of their stake in Alstom. The official reason is given as a desire to focus on core assets.The sale realised around 800 million Euros. The sale was followed by a sharp drop a few days later in Marconi shares and the announcement of staff cuts around the world after reports of falling sales and the prediction that company profits would be halved next year.