Siemens 'flags Alstom alliance'

French economy and industry minister Arnaud Montebourg said Siemens this morning wrote to Alstom to “specify the axes of an alliance".

While Montebourg didn’t elaborate on the development – which he revealed on Twitter – the letter could be a step towards a formal bid by the German industrial firm for Alstom’s energy assets.

A Siemens official at headquarters in Munich had no comment.

Siemens has until the end of the month to decide whether to launch a counter-bid to GE’s $17bn offer for the French company’s energy assets.

The company is preparing to make a formal bid as early as this week, according to reports yesterday.

Montebourg, who previously had made clear his opposition to a GE takeover, today also tweeted that he can’t foresee which alliance would be better, and said that nothing has been decided yet.

The minister last week signed a decree extending the French state’s powers to prevent defence deals into an expanded list of strategic sectors, including energy, which potentially has big implications for any bid, by GE or by Siemens.