France secures stake in Alstom ahead of GE deal

Oliver Smith
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THE FRENCH government has secured a deal to buy 20 per cent of Alstom from conglomerate Bouygues, economy minister Arnaud Montebourg said yesterday.

The state had made its purchase of Bouygues’ 20 per cent stake in Alstom a condition for approving General Electric’s (GE) €12.35bn (£9.9bn) offer for Alstom’s energy business, which expires today.

“We have a purchase option that enables us to buy when the price is as low as possible,” Montebourg said last night.

He added that Bouygues will initially lend Alstom stock to the government so it can exercise an immediate role as the group’s main shareholder.

Alstom’s board on Saturday announced unanimous board support for the GE deal, which will see the US firm acquire most of Alstom’s energy business including gas and steam turbines for power plants, while handing over its own rail signalling division to reinforce the TGV train manufacturer’s transport offering.

The tie-up also establishes three GE-controlled joint ventures in France to house Alstom’s power grid, renewable energy and nuclear turbine businesses.

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