Siemens will make an official bid for Alstom’s energy business “at the latest“on June 16, but for that demands a “fair and equal” access to information, Siemens France chief Christophe de Maistre said in a committee of the French National Assembly.
The German company envisages a transaction that would result in the creation of two European champions, one in energy and one in transport, that are able to face competition from North America or Asia, de Maistre told the lawmakers.
Siemens' decision will be based on a “profound verification of the financial situation at Alstom and a broad consultation with all involved parties,” he said, adding that those include shareholders, clients, as well as government and labour representatives.
Siemens in a letter to Alstom had already demanded more information from the French company, an industry source told Recharge.
According to German media, Siemens among other things wants to know more about corruption investigations against Alstom in the US, Brazil and the UK, which could result in fines that diminish the value of the company.
GE last week had given Alstom several more weeks (until June 23) to consider its $17bn bid for Alstom’s energy assets so that the French company has enough time to weigh up its proposal against a possible counter-bid from Siemens.
GE chief executive Jeff Immelt in the same French parliamentary committee stressed his company has made a “good offer.” When quizzed about job guarantees for Alstom employees, Immelt said the takeover bid would form a company that could actually create new jobs.
Siemens previously had said it would give Alstom staff in France a three-year job guarantee. Labour issues are highly sensitive in France that unlike its neighbour Germany still suffers profoundly from the economic and financial crisis in the euro area.
Siemens has written a letter outlining to Alstom “the axes of an alliance” in a possible bid, France’s industry minister revealed last week.
Alstom’s management so far has indicated its preference for GE, but said it was open to other bids, while France’s government has made clear that it prefers a bid from Siemens.
Siemens, meanwhile, had no comment on a Reuters news report that said it would likely offer less than €7bn ($9.5bn) plus its rail business in exchange for Alstom’s energy activities.