PARIS, June 12 The French government met on
Thursday to discuss the fate of cash-strapped engineering group
Alstom but gave little indication of its feelings
towards a plan being hatched by Siemens and
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.
The German and Japanese groups said on Wednesday they were
discussing a joint bid for Alstom's energy assets that would
counter a rival $17 billion offer by U.S. conglomerate General
Electric and would be worth around $9.8 billion,
according to the Nikkei newspaper.
France has tried hard in recent weeks to drum up better
offers for Alstom, which makes power turbines and trains, saying
it wanted to preserve the country's jobs and industrial know-how
and even giving itself powers to veto a deal.
Thursday's meeting brought together French President
Francois Hollande, Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg and David
Azema, the head of French state holding company APE.
Another meeting is scheduled next week, an official at the
president's office said, stressing that the government did not
favour one offer over the other at this stage.
"Our demands have never changed. What are our goals? To
defend the country's energy independence, to maintain business
and decision-making in France and to obtain the most favourable
situation on the jobs front," the official said.
"It's against these criteria that we will continue to
examine the proposals on the table. As far as our method goes we
don't have a preference for this or that proposal, we have
(Reporting by Emmanuel Jarry; Writing by Natalie Huet; Editing
by Andrew Callus)