Siemens wants time for Alstom bid

Siemens this afternoon confirmed that it will make a bid for France’s Alstom – but only provided it is given four weeks' grace to carry out the necessary due diligence.

Siemens' confirmation that it wants to table an offer added to a growing consensus that the race between the German industrial giant and its US rival GE will not be settled swiftly.

Siemens said in a statement: “The prerequisite for this offer is, that Alstom agrees to give Siemens access to the company’s data room and permission to interview the management during a period of four weeks, to enable Siemens to carry out a suitable due diligence.”

A letter to that regard was submitted this afternoon to Alstom, Siemens said, giving no further information.

A number of reports earlier suggested that the German group’s intervention may herald several weeks of detailed negotiations while Alstom weighs the merits of its two suitors.

The reluctance of the French government to see a quickfire sale of Alstom – including its considerable renewables assets – is cited by multiple reports as a reason for GE’s bold offer failing to sweep the company into US ownership.

Sources including the French newspaper Le Monde and news agency Reuters said the door would be left open for Siemens, even as discussions between GE and Alstom continue over the next few weeks.

The CEOs of GE and Siemens both met French President Francois Hollande in a day of high-level discussions yesterday.

That followed Siemens dramatic intervention in the bid by GE to acquire Alstom for a reported $13bn.

The German government was more circumspect than its equivalent in Paris over the matter.

Steffen Seibert, the spokesman of German Chancellor Angela Merkel Monday said the government in Berlin is in contact with the French government, but won't comment on the talks.

"Those are talks that at first are the responsibility of the involved companies. Therefore, we won't comment on them as in other cases," he said at a regular government press conference.

A spokesman for the German economics ministry said the government is striving for a close co-opertion with France in the energy sector, but declined to give further details.

Siemens wants time for Alstom bid

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