GE exec says Alstom bid process going as expected

NEW YORK Wed May 14, 2014 1:15pm EDT

NEW YORK May 14 (Reuters) - General Electric Co is "kind of where we thought we would be" in navigating the process of its $16.9 billion bid for the power turbine and grid business of France's Alstom, the president of GE's power unit said on Wednesday.

GE made its offer late last month to Alstom, which welcomed the bid. But in an attempt to get better offers, the French government has weighed in on the talks, creating some uncertainty.

Alstom has given itself until the end of the month to review its options.

Speaking at an investor conference, Steve Bolze, president of GE Power & Water, said: "The process we're going through is as we expected ... You have steps you have to go through."

"We're kind of where we thought we would be," said Bolze, speaking to a group at the Oppenheimer Industrial Growth Conference in New York.

In an interview to be published on Thursday, French Energy Minister Ségolène Royal told weekly magazine Paris Match that GE's offer for the Alstom power arm is "a very good opportunity" for the engineering group.

But Royal's comments clashed in tone with those of Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg, who has openly criticized an Alstom-GE deal and instead advocated a European tie-up with Germany's Siemens AG.

In response to a question about the French government, Bolze said: "I've been in France the last couple days, and I'm going back (in) the next couple of days." (Reporting by Lewis Krauskopf, editing by G Crosse)

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