(Adds comment from Alstom spokeswoman and from GE chief
By Sophie Sassard and Jens Hack
LONDON/MUNICH May 21 Alstom will not give
suitor Siemens any more information about its power business
than it has already disclosed to rival bidder General Electric,
which has made a $17 billion approach to the French company, a
person close to the French camp said on Wednesday.
Germany's Siemens has written to Alstom asking for more
information ahead of a likely offer for the French firm's
power business, French Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg said
The source said the request from Siemens was a "negotiating
Alstom is already in talks with GE over a 12.35 billion euro
($16.9 billion) bid for its power arm, which it is due to review
by June 2. Under pressure from the French government, however,
it has opened its books to Siemens as well.
Siemens has been working on an alternative proposal to swap
all of its rail business for Alstom's power arm in a deal that
could see France take a stake in the rail-focused French group.
But several people familiar with Siemens' thinking said on
Wednesday it was likely to put its planned offer on hold until
it was given more information.
Siemens declined to comment.
"The board of Alstom is studying a firm offer from GE," an
Alstom spokeswoman said.
"The examination of any alternative offer would be
undertaken with the same care and the same rigour as the GE
offer. We have received at this stage an indication of interest
from Siemens, which has access to Alstom's data room, and
thereby all the information necessary to transform its intention
into a firm offer."
The French government has criticised GE's bid, saying that a
sale of Alstom's power arm would weaken the group by reducing it
to its smaller transport business.
But GE Chief Executive Jeff Immelt said on Wednesday that GE
was still going to "work constructively" with the French
government on its bid, and that he expected the deal to close.
The German and French governments have played up an alliance
between Alstom and Siemens as a European alternative that would
create two industry champions.
($1 = 0.7302 Euros)
(Additional reporting by Natalie Huet in Paris; Writing by
Ludwig Burger; Editing by Alexander Smith, Erica Billingham and