* Alstom to get $10 bln in cash as part of GE deal
* State to enter Alstom capital only after deal closes
* Deal closing seen in H1 2015 -Kron
* Sees transport arm growing in revenue & margins
By Natalie Huet
PARIS, June 23 France will be making a sound
investment by taking a stake in Alstom, its chief executive said
on Monday, adding however that the government would be buying in
too late to have a say in the use of proceeds from its tie-up
with General Electric.
France won an option to buy 20 percent of Alstom
from conglomerate Bouygues on Sunday, in an
eleventh-hour deal clearing the way for the agreed sale of most
of Alstom's energy business to GE.
The agreement drew a close to a two-month battle for the
future of Alstom - a prized industrial company struggling with
slow demand for power equipment in post-recession energy markets
- that the French government said it would not allow to be
"devoured" by a foreign firm.
"I think they (the government) would make a good investment
in Alstom. This is a company which has a strong potential of
value creation and I'm expecting that all shareholders will
benefit from this value creation," Alstom Chief Executive
Patrick Kron told a call with analysts on Monday.
However, given the state will not be part of Alstom's
capital nor on its board before the deal closes in roughly a
year, it will not have its say on the use of proceeds from the
transaction, he added.
Alstom will be reaping 12.35 billion euros ($16.9 billion)
from the sale of its power assets to GE, but will have to
re-invest about 2.5 billion euros into three 50:50 joint
ventures created at the request of the government - in its
electricity grid, renewable energy and nuclear power businesses.
Alstom plans to use the rest of the proceeds to pay off
debt, strengthen its transport arm via acquisitions and return
cash to its shareholders. Kron declined to give even a rough
breakdown of the numbers.
GE had originally wanted to buy Alstom's entire power arm
outright, but the government threatened to block a deal unless
it created partnerships in the fields of nuclear power and
renewables, seen as strategic to the country's energy
independence and ecologic transition.
Taking into consideration Alstom's investment in these joint
ventures and the cash it will be transferring to GE, the U.S.
group's total cash outlay for the deal will be $10 billion.
The joint ventures planned with GE represent annual revenue
of 7.6 billion euros and will include exit options for Alstom,
for instance through initial public offerings (IPOs), Kron said.
Alstom also struck a memorandum of agreement with GE to buy
the latter's rail signalling business for around 600 million
euros and to cooperate in services, technology, supply chain,
manufacturing and commercial support in the United States.
Kron said having GE's signalling business - which has annual
sales of roughly $500 million and is particularly strong in U.S.
freight signalling - would grow Alstom's own unit by more than a
third, improve its footprint worldwide and bring opportunities
for cross-selling and cost synergies. He did not give figures.
Alstom's rail arm as a whole would gain precious access to
the U.S. market and grow revenue and margins, Kron said.
However, the Alstom saga is not quite over yet. The deal
still needs to be submitted to labour representatives,
competition watchdogs and shareholders' approval and is expected
to close in the first half of 2015.
"The process ahead is still heavy and complex... there is
still some road ahead," Kron said.
($1 = 0.7366 Euros)
(Editing by Sophie Walker)