PARIS, May 27 (Reuters) - Germany’s Siemens hopes to submit by June 16 at the latest a formal asset swap offer to France’s Alstom that would create two European industry champions, the head of Siemens France said on Tuesday.
Christophe de Maistre told a parliamentary economic committee that Siemens was interested in acquiring all of Alstom’s power assets, except those France would see as essential to its energy independence.
In exchange, Siemens would bring Alstom all of its trains business, creating a bigger transport group that would be majority owned by France and would have its headquarters there. In rail signalling, Siemens would offer to take over Alstom’s business and set up the global headquarters of that unit in France.
“Our industrial project would take the form of an alliance between Alstom and Siemens... an alliance that would create two European industry champions, able to durably face North-American and Asian competition,” de Maistre said.
Alstom is already in talks with General Electric Co over a 12.35 billion euro ($16.9 billion) all-cash offer for its power arm, which has been extended until June 23. The French company has opened its books to Siemens so the German firm can propose its own deal if it wants to.
The French government has said it wanted better offers that would preserve jobs, the country’s industrial footprint and its energy independence. Alstom, which makes France’s TGV high-speed trains, is also a supplier of turbines for nuclear plants worldwide.
The French government, which earlier this month passed a decree enabling it to veto foreign takeovers in “strategic sectors” including transport and energy, has criticized the U.S. company’s bid, saying a straight sale of the power arm would weaken Alstom by reducing it to a smaller rail business.
De Maistre said Siemens had started due diligence on May 7 and was still looking at the opportunities and risks posed by a tie-up with its longtime French rival.
Addressing French concerns about jobs, he said that Siemens would guarantee a job for Alstom workers joining the German firm during three years starting from the day a deal is closed.
$1 = 0.7325 Euros Reporting by Benjamin Mallet and Natalie Huet, editing by Louise Heavens