The combined companies will be able to cut about $1bn (€736m) out of their costs, potentially helping to keep a damper on the rising price for aluminium packaging and other products. A more massive supplier could also give the companies more clout in setting prices for their products. Alcoa's chairman and chief executive officer, Alain Belda, said the companies had been in discussions for two years about such a merger but without success. "The combination of Alcoa and Alcan creates a stronger, more diverse global competitor with the scale and cost structure to be competitive over the long term within a rapidly changing industry landscape," he argued in announcing the bid. The combined company will also have a better balance of projects to develop their markets and fund research and development. Belda said projects intended to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, improve the efficiency of the smelting process, and pursue new lower-cost technologies are part of that agenda. On an aggregate basis for 2006, the combined company would have had revenues of $54bn and an operating income of $9.5bn. In 2006, the combined company's alumina capacity would have been about 21.5 million tonnes. The combined company will have about 188,000 employees in 67 countries. Alcoa said it hopes to complete the buyout by the end of 2007.