* Capital hike not motivated by deteriorating business -CEO
* Alstom took advantage of window of opportunity -CEO
* Shares up 0.8 percent, outperforming bluechip index
PARIS, Oct 4 (Reuters) - Alstom’s chief executive ruled out more cash calls, following its 350 million euros ($451 million) capital hike this week, in a bid to ease investors’ concerns over its balance sheet.
The French transport and power engineering company surprised investors on Monday with news of the increase, saying the cash would be used to fund a $350 million stake purchase in a Russian rail equipment firm.
“The objective was to finance this acquisition without putting pressure on debt,” CEO Patrick Kron told reporters during a conference call on Thursday.
However, Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts said investors could be concerned that the company was raising cash to compensate for a weak balance sheet or even cash flow problems, sending Alstom’s shares down around 5 percent since Monday’s announcement.
Speaking in a call to journalists on Thursday, Kron said Alstom had taken advantage of a favourable window of opportunity in a “very volatile” and “rather nervous” market to launch its capital increase.
At 1241 GMT, they were trading 0.8 percent higher at 27.00 euros, outperforming a 0.3 percent gain on the France’s main bluechip CAC 40 index.
Alstom said it plans to spend the remainder of the cash, about $100 million, on smaller deals, such as the acquisition of Rolls-Royce’s Tidal Generation unit, a maker of turbines that generate electricity using tidal streams.
Kron also said Alstom had issued a five-year bond for 350 million euros, which was unrelated to the capital issue and would be used for general financing purposes.