Alstom interested in GE's rail signaling business -CEO

PARIS Wed May 7, 2014 2:31am EDT

PARIS May 7 (Reuters) - French engineering group Alstom has more interest in General Electric's rail signaling activities than its freight train business, Chief Executive Patrick Kron said on Wednesday.

The French government has said the U.S. conglomerate's offer to take over Alstom's power and grid business is not acceptable as it stands and has suggested a deal that would also combine the two companies' rail businesses.

Kron called GE's freight locomotives business a "niche" activity, however, that was very U.S.-centered and unlikely to bring synergies with Alstom's transport business. Rail signaling, meanwhile, was a segment the French firm was eager to expand into.

"I'm much more interested in signaling activities than in diversifying into a business in which we are not present," Kron told reporters on a conference call.

Kron also restated that Alstom would also give rival Siemens fair access to its books to enable the German company to make a competing binding offer.

"We have been in touch with Siemens and its advisers and now the possibility for them to make a move is perfectly open," Kron said. (Reporting by Natalie Huet; Editing by James Regan)

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