The French industrial engineering firm is facing a tough takeover battle with reports that Siemens could put in a bid for the unit. President Hollande urged GE to revise its $13.5 billion offer to Alstom’s energy arm and said the current bid “is not good enough”. However, Alstom’s CEO confirmed the group had only received one bid from GE, adding that it was indeed open to a rival offer.
“We have today one offer on the table, this is the offer, the binding offer provided by General Electric,” Patrick Kron told CNBC in a television interview. “The board is studying it…Again, if there are new elements in these proposals, should it be an alternative offer, or precisions or improvements of existing ones, the board will consider it.”
These comments come after the company scrapped its dividend and reported a 10 percent drop in orders for its full year end (March 31st)/ Net income also dropped 28 percent to 556 million euro’s for the full year, whilst operating profit fell by 3 percent to 1.4 billion euro’s.
The French government has continued to push Siemens to put forward a rival offer for Alstom, but the German engineering giant’s CEO Joe Kaeser said that a decision to make a deal with “not be forced on us”. He said he had discussed the opportunities with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, adding the company is “pretty cool” about the process.
If Alstom was sold to GE, it would mean that Alstom would focus on its train business, making GE’s railway assets more attractive. Peter Kron told CNBC that it is right that the government has intervened: “I think that the French government is obviously one of the stakeholders and it is absolutely legitimate to express views in the situation as Alstom is today. So I am not surprised nor consider illegitimate such an intervention. I understood that the French president has expressed the priority of putting this issue on employment. This is exactly my concern and my priority as well. What I want to do is give a future to Alstom energy activities and its employees.”