* GE submits revamped offer including joint ventures
* Alstom agrees new plan; Alstom board to decide by Monday
* Siemens says its plan superior; no Alstom comment
(Releads adding Siemens reaction, Alstom no comment)
By Natalie Huet and Benjamin Mallet
PARIS, June 19 General Electric revised
its bid for the power arm of Alstom on Thursday to
respond to political concerns in France, offering joint venture
opportunities and providing guarantees to the French state.
It was the latest shot in a two-month fight for control of
Alstom's energy business, days before the French group's board
must choose between GE's offer and a rival one from Germany's
Siemens and Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI)
French trade unions who met French Economy Minister Arnaud
Montebourg over the deal said Siemens-MHI had also revised its
offer, putting new money on the table to buy bigger stakes in
parts of Alstom's businesses. A Mitsubishi spokesman said no
decision had been taken and a Siemens spokesman declined
President Francois Hollande summoned key ministers including
Montebourg on Thursday evening to examine the rival offers.
"They will all reach a common position tonight," Francis
Orosco, head of the CFTC energy sector trade union, told
Reuters, adding: "Montebourg has no preference."
GE said the new offer had been agreed with Alstom management
and that it would create an "alliance", a term that France's
Socialist government has said all along it favours to describe
any tie-up involving the engineering group.
While the new offer would create 50:50 joint ventures in
grid, nuclear and renewable assets, GE would still end up with
all of the lucrative gas turbines arm, which accounts for
roughly a third of Alstom's revenue from power.
The U.S. conglomerate's move to revise what was a straight
purchase offer to include joint ventures across individual
industrial sectors came after France's government said it would
veto any deal that did not protect local jobs and interests.
GE said its overall valuation for Alstom power assets at
12.4 billion euros ($16.9 billion) remained unchanged, while the
cash component would drop to reflect the fact it was buying
fewer assets outright. It stressed that the deal, if approved,
would immediately boost the U.S. company's earnings per share.
"We have reached agreements with Alstom's management that
will create an alliance between our companies in both spirit and
practice," GE Chief Executive Jeff Immelt said in a statement.
"It creates jobs, establishes headquarters decision-making
in France and ensures that the Alstom name will endure," said
Immelt, who earlier met French government and union officials.
The Siemens-MHI proposal would take just the gas turbines
arm of Alstom and give MHI minority stakes in its other power
activities. De Maistre said the Siemens-MHI proposal valued
Alstom's energy business at around 14.2 billion euros, some 1.8
billion euros more than the GE plan.
Bernard Devert, head of the metallurgy arm of the CGT trade
union, told Reuters that MHI was now offering to put a further
800 million euros on the table to take higher stakes in two
parts of Alstom's business.
Such an offer, if accepted, would leave the Japanese group
with 40 percent stakes in Alstom's steam, hydro and renewables
business, he said.
Siemens mentioned no such plan in an earlier statement
arguing its existing offer was better than GE's.
"The counter offer of GE reinforces the credibility of the
joint MHI/Siemens concept. It actually follows our approach -
but doesn't change the game. Our concept is still superior,"
Siemens France CEO Christophe de Maistre said.
Alstom CEO Patrick Kron, who was present at GE France's
headquarters in Paris as GE briefed journalists, declined to
make any comment to Reuters on the new GE offer.
The nuclear alliance proposed by GE would see the government
hold a preferred share, giving it a veto and other rights over
issues related to security and technology of nuclear plants - a
vital point in France, which relies heavily on nuclear energy.
Sensitive intellectual property related to Alstom's Arabelle
nuclear steam turbine technology would also be transferred to a
special purpose vehicle wholly owned by the French government.
Alstom shares extended losses after the announcement and
closed down 6 percent. One trader cited the state's veto right
on nuclear issues as having spooked some investors.
GE said it had also signed a memorandum of understanding
with the French group's management to boost the transport
activities of Alstom, maker of the famed TGV high-speed train.
Under the plan, GE would sell its signalling business to
Alstom and enter collaboration pacts for services, technology,
manufacturing and support in the United States.
($1 = 0.7336 Euros)
(Additional reporting by Jean-Baptiste Vey and John Irish in
Paris, Joern Polz in Germany; Editing by James Regan and Will