General Electric revises bid for France's Alstom

TGV made by Alstom Image copyright AFP
Image caption Alstom makes the high-speed TGV train and is seen as one of France's key industrial firms

General Electric (GE) has stepped up its efforts to win the tussle for the energy business of France's Alstom.

It offered to create a joint venture with the firm's nuclear and energy businesses, and sell its profitable rail signalling business to Alstom, but did not increase its $17bn bid.

GE's chief executive, Jeff Immelt, said discussions with the French government had been "productive".

Rival bidder, Siemens, said its offer with Mitsubishi was still "superior".

Alstom, which also makes the high-speed TGV train, is seen as one of France's key industrial firms, therefore the government can block a foreign takeover.

All parties have discussed their offer with the French President Francois Hollande, who is concerned about the break-up of Alstom and the loss of jobs.

'Job creation'

Mr Immelt, who is in France to make the case for his company's proposal, said: "The alliance will retain and strengthen France's presence in the energy business and reinforce Alstom Transport.

"It creates jobs, establishes headquarters decision-making in France and ensures that the Alstom name will endure."

The previous offer had been for a straight purchase of Alstom's power business.

Siemens said the fact that GE had changed tack proved that their bid was the better one.

"The counter offer of GE reinforces the credibility of the joint MHI-Siemens concept. It actually follows our approach - but doesn't change the game. Our concept is still superior," said Christophe de Maistre, chief executive of Siemens France.

The joint offer would involve Siemens paying 3.9bn euros (£3.1bn; $5.3bn) for the gas turbine arm, with Mitsubishi buying 10% of Alstom and inject 3.1bn euros into the company.

The board of Alstom has said it will make a decision on the offers by 23 June.

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