PARIS (Reuters) - Alstom (ALSO.PA) is to accept 300 million euros ($333 million) less than previously agreed for its power turbines unit from General Electric (GE.N) as a contribution to the U.S.-based buyer’s efforts to win antitrust clearance in Europe.
The last-minute 2.4 percent discount to the previously agreed 12.35 billion euro deal is the latest in a series of knocks Alstom shareholders have suffered since the deal was announced in April 2014.
“In order to support General Electric in its offering of a comprehensive set of remedies addressing the concern of the(European) Commission, Alstom’s board... would contribute financially to such remedy package through a reduction of 300 million euros,” the French engineering company said in a statement.
“The parties continue to have constructive discussions with the Commission regarding the transaction,” it added.
The amount Alstom shareholders will receive will now be between 3.2 billion and 3.7 billion euros once the deal is closed, the company said, down from 3.5-4 billion previously.
On July 16, GE said it had offered unspecified concessions in an attempt to counter EU regulatory concerns about the deal, which was announced last year and would be its biggest ever acquisition.
Just over a year ago, modifications demanded by former French economy minister Arnaud Montebourg obliged Alstom to reinvest some proceeds in other businesses.
Then, in December, Alstom announced that it would be absorbing the cost of a $772 million bribery fine it was due to pay in the United States - a blow that was only partly offset by 400 million euros from GE in additional commercial agreements.
A GE spokesman confirmed on Monday that the price adjustment related to remedies proposed to the Commission and only applied if they were approved.
Reporting by Andrew Callus; Editing by James Regan and David Evans