Siemens 'tables Alstom counter-bid'

Siemens has proposed a deal to buy Alstom’s renewables business as part of a wider deal to thwart a takeover of the French group by US rival GE, reports say.

The German industrial giant is said to have placed a counter offer with Alstom proposing the formation of two ‘European champions’ – one in energy and one in transport.

That would be achieved by Siemens taking on Alstom’s Power and Grid divisions and the latter taking control of the pair’s assets in the transportation sector, said the Financial Times.

Such a deal would see the German group instantly turbo-charge its wind turbine portfolio – onshore and offshore – and give it a bigger presence in some key emerging markets such as Brazil, where Alstom is a major rival to GE.

It would also be able to add Alstom’s grid unit to its own power and transmission operation.

The German group said: “Siemens has submitted a letter to the board of Alstom to signal its willingness to discuss future strategic opportunities. No further comments will be made at this time.”

The latest development follows reports last week that GE is preparing to announce a planned takeover of Alstom in a deal worth $13bn.

That approach has yet to be confirmed by either side – with Alstom denying any formal offer had been made – but the uncertainty caused the suspension of Alstom’s shares in Paris on Friday.

The GE CEO Jeff Immelt is reportedly preparing to meet French government officials today to discuss the issue, which is intensely political in France where Alstom, although not state-owned, is seen as a key national asset.

The French government is highly reluctant to see the company – among other things a key part of the nation's offshore wind strategy – bundled into US ownership without cast-iron guarantees in areas such as jobs and location of R&D.

Industry minister Arnaud Montebourg said the government would "not accept any hasty decisions".