• France's news in English

France rejects GE bid for Alstom 'in current form'

AFP/The Local · 6 May 2014, 09:03

Published: 06 May 2014 09:03 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

"In its current form, we can unfortunately not agree to the propositions you have made, resting only on the acquisition of Alstom's activities in the energy sector," Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg said in a letter to GE chief Jeff Immelt.

The US behemoth has been vying for Alstom's energy assets with German giant Siemens in a politically sensitive bidding war over the French engineering group.

Montebourg was charged by French President François Hollande with responding to GE's €12.4 billion ($17 billion) bid for the energy assets of the company, which employs 18,000 staff in the country.

The firebrand minister has vowed to "defend the industrial interests of the nation" in the deal.

In the letter seen by AFP, Montebourg told Immelt the French government "wishes to examine the ways and means of a balanced partnership, rejecting a pure and simple acquisition that would lead to the demise of Alstom."

He said the French government was concerned about "the separation and isolation of the branch of Alstom specialized in rail transport" if GE only buys the energy arm.

Energy activities -- which include power generation and transmission -- account for about 70 percent of Alstom's business but the company is better known as a railway equipment maker that manufactures France's prized TGV high-speed trains.

Montebourg suggested that General Electric in turn hand over its activities in the rail sector to Alstom.

"It would be highly desirable to insure a global future for Alstom Transport, by ceding General Electric's transport activities to this entity, including freight trains and signals, representing revenues of $3.9 billion," the minister said.

Story continues below…

Reacting to Montebourg's letter, General Electric defended its bid for Alstom's energy assets.

"We appreciate the engagement of the French government. We believe our proposal is good for France, for Alstom and for GE. As our letter to President Hollande stressed, we are open to continuing dialogue," said the company.

Shares in GE, a Dow component, closed at $26.58, down 0.4 percent.

AFP/The Local (sophie.inge@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Fifteen of the most bizarre laws in France
Photo: Matthew Powell/Flickr

A must read for anyone who wants to stay on the right side of the law in France.

'New migrants arrive in Calais' despite 'Jungle' clearance
Photo: AFP

While thousands of migrants have been bussed out around France, new ones are arriving all the time.

Medieval town in south of France upholds ban on UFOs
The town of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Photo: Aa77zz/Flickr

Aliens take note.

American tourist dies at French Riviera sex club
The Riviera resort of Cannes. Photo: AFP

American tourist reportedly fell five floors after being pushed outside the underground sex club in Cannes.

Paris: 'Flying' water taxis to be tested on River Seine
Photo: SeaBubbles

An in Seine idea surely? But tests will go ahead.

France joins fight for rich pickings from post-Brexit UK
Photo: AFP/DcnH/Flickr

France tries to woo EU's bank regulator and other agencies.

How speaking French can really mess up your English
Photo: CollegeDegree360/Flickr

So you've mastered French, but now it's time to learn English all over again.

French claims that Jungle camp is empty are rubbished
Photo: AFP

Reports from the scene say scores of migrants are still in the area of the Jungle despite French authorities claiming "mission fulfilled."

Kidnapped Riviera millionaire left tied up in car boot in Nice
Photo: AFP

Head of luxury Cannes hotel has been found alive after being kidnapped in Nice on Monday.

Paris landlords still charging illegally high rents
Photo: Panoramas/Flickr

... and it's tenants in the smaller apartments that get hit the hardest. Could you be paying too much?

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available