GE 'to unveil revised Alstom offer'

GE will today present an improved offer for the energy interests of France’s Alstom, multiple reports claim.

The US industrial giant – which has the support of Alstom’s board for its current $17bn offer – is said to be ready to propose revised terms in areas such as jobs guarantees, investments and nuclear technology in an effort to gain the backing of the French government.

News agency Reuters quotes a source close to GE as saying: "The offer will, of course, be improved" when the company meets officials and unions tomorow.

Any sweetening of he proposal will come in the form of guarantees, rather than extra cash, according to Bloomberg.

GE has not so far commented on the reports, which come as the battle for Alstom enters its decisive phase ahead of the revised 23 June deadline set by the US group for the French company to consider its bid.

The long-expected counter-offer from Germany’s Siemens arrived on Monday, in conjunction with Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

The Paris government has made it clear it wants both offers to be improved – although Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser said yesterday he saw no reason to change his “already superior” proposal.

Reports in Germany today claimed Alstom’s management has already decided to reject Siemens/MHI’s offer.

The wind and renewable energy assets of Alstom have generally taken a back seat in a battle that has focused on Alstom’s thermal power and transportation operations.

GE has previously signalled that it may be prepared to sell the wind power operation to a French investor if its bid is successful. That has raised speculation of a deal to keep Alstom Wind in French hands though a deal with domestic rival Areva.

The Siemens/MHI plan envisages Wind and Renewable Energy staying 100% Alstom-owned as part of a wider group in which the Japanese giant becomes a significant investor.