General Electric has revised its offer for French industrial champion Alstom in an attempt to appease government concerns and strike a killer blow against a rival bid by Siemens and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.
In a significant concession to government demands, GE and Alstom will enter into a 50:50 joint venture for their combined power grid assets and another joint venture containing Alstom’s renewable assets.
There will be a third 50:50 joint venture mainly in nuclear technology, in which the government will get a “golden share” that would grant it a veto. This will “assure security and growth of nuclear steam technology for France”, GE said.
The overall $16.9bn value of the offer remains unchanged, but the US conglomerate has agreed to sell Alstom its rail signalling business in a bid to strengthen the French group’s remaining transport business.
Jeffrey Immelt, GE chief executive who is in Paris and is due to meet President Fran?ois Hollande, said there had been “constructive dialogue” with ministers and that the Alstom management had said that they were “very comfortable” with the deal.
He added a note of reassurance to GE shareholders as well: “The fundamental economics [of the deal for GE] have not changed that greatly.”
France’s Socialist government has been pressing GE to allow Alstom to preserve a minority stake in the business, with potentially a “tiny symbolic” stake for the French state as well, a senior official said on Wednesday.
The French government has given itself an effective veto over the deal. It is intending to make a decision on its preferred bidder by the weekend, the senior official said, who described the two offers as running “neck and neck”.
Alstom’s board has until Monday to decide between the two offers.
Siemens is offering ￠3.9bn for Alstom’s gas turbines business, while Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy and partner Hitachi would pay ￠3.1bn to take minority stakes in joint ventures with Alstom in its steam, grid and hydro -divisions. With intense talks still under way with both sides, the government had viewed -Mitsubishi-Siemens as having a “slight advantage” because their proposal was based on forming a partnership with Alstom, not a takeover.
But the official said that if the GE offer “ticked the sovereignty box”, the bias would shift its way because its proposal was more straightforward.
通用电气(GE)已修订其收购法国工业龙头企业阿尔斯通(Alstom)能源部门的要约，以求化解法国政府担忧，同时一举挫败西门子(Siemens)和三菱重工(Mitsubishi Heavy Industries)联合发起的竞购。
GE首席执行官杰弗里?伊梅尔特(Jeffrey Immelt)正在巴黎，他将会晤法国总统弗朗索瓦?奥朗德(Fran?ois Hollande)。他表示，公司与部长级官员们开展了“建设性的对话”，而且阿尔斯通的管理层已表示，他们对这笔交易“非常满意”。