The battle for French trains and turbines maker Alstom headed towards a finale today as both bidders met President François Hollande to sell the merits of their newly improved offers.
Germany’s Siemens, which has formed an alliance with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries of Japan, today raised the cash element of its offer to make its total bid for Alstom’s energy business worth €14.2 billion (£11.3 billion).
Rival US bidder GE has offered €12.35 billion for Alstom’s power business, and last night gave new guarantees over job security and management decision-making. It also said the cash element of its bid is still higher than the Siemens bid, which it today described as “unrealistic” .
Alstom’s board has set a deadline of next Monday for the bidders, saying it will choose between them then. GE chief executive Jeffrey Immens has flown to Paris to meet Hollande today while Siemens’ chief Joe Kaeser was also reported to be heading for the French capital again.
Hollande’s government is reported slightly to favour the Siemens offer over the GE one although both bidders have gone out of their way to make guarantees over French jobs and to promise the security of the country’s vital nuclear power industry.
Both bidders have put forward proposals for merging Alstom’s rail business, which builds France’s TGVs and London’s Tube trains and is a major player in signalling systems, with their own transport businesses.