Alstom weighs $17bn GE offer

The French government is eager for reassurances over jobs

Alstom would bring a strong position in offshore wind to the deal

Alstom said it will decide before the end of May whether to sell its energy interests to US giant GE in a deal worth €12.35bn ($17bn) – an offer its board supports – but confirmed the door is still not closed on Germany's Siemens.

The deal would see all the French company’s energy activities – including its renewables operations – pass to GE, leaving Alstom purely focused on transport.

Specifically in relation to renewables, Alstom said: “In Wind Power, Alstom is small in onshore wind with a competitive offering in offshore wind while GE is focused on onshore wind.”

The deal represents an equity value of €12.35bn and an enterprise value of €11.4bn, higher figures than those being discussed in the week since reports of the proposed deal first emerged.

The French company did not completely close the door on the prospect of a counter-bid from German rival Siemens, but said its board “acknowledged unanimously the strategic and industrial merits of this [the GE] offer”.

An independent committee will be set up to review the GE offer by the end of May, which will take account of “all stakeholders interests including the French State”.

The Alstom statement said the GE bid prohibits it from soliciting offers for its energy business.

But it adds: “It has however reserved the right to respond to unsolicited offers for its entire energy business and engage in discussions with bidders demonstrating a serious interest that could lead to a superior offer for Alstom.”

Of the Siemens offer, Alstom said: “The board also reviewed a declaration of interest received from Siemens, regarding an alternative transaction.

"Siemens will have a fair access to information needed to make, should it decide to do so, a binding offer. This declaration will be reviewed in light of Alstom’s corporate interest and the interest of all stakeholders, in accordance with the commitments made."

Alstom CEO Patrick Kron said: “The combination of the very complementary Energy businesses of Alstom and GE would create a more competitive entity to better service customer needs. Alstom’s employees would join a well-known, major global player, with the means to invest in people and technology to support worldwide energy customers over the long term.

"The proposed transaction would allow Alstom to develop its Transport business as a stand-alone company, with a strong balance sheet to capitalise on opportunities in the dynamic rail transport market."

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