French Alstom in talks over selling of energy division

French energy and transport conglomerate, Alstom in talks with Siemens and General Electric over selling of energy division

French energy and transport conglomerate, Alstom in talks with Siemens and General Electric over selling of energy division

PARIS - The French government is in talks with German and American multinationals on Monday over the sale of the energy division of its energy and transport conglomerate, Alstom.

French President Francois Hollande met the heads of Germany's Siemens and America's General Electric who have both voiced their interest in purchasing Alstom.

Partly state owned, Alstom has a market value of about 8.3 billion euros and has a number of investments world-wide. 

The French economy minister, Arnaud Montebourg told a French radio station that the French government will be “extra careful” to keep employment and decision making issues under Alstom's control, when receiving the offers for the company.

Responding to a question about whether the French government will increase its share at Alstom, French Labour Minister Francois Rebsamen said while the option was available, it was unlikely due to France’s high budget deficit.

In 2004, the French government increased its share to 21 percent at Alstom to help the company, which was in a difficult financial position.

Hollande met with General Electric's chief executive Jeffrey Immett on Monday morning to discuss Alstom's future.

Hollande will also meet with Siemens' CEO Joe Kaeser on Monday. The French president will then meet with Martin Bouygues, the chairman of Bouygues, Alstom's largest shareholder with a 29.4 percent.

The French press claims that the government is closer to an agreement with Germany’s Siemens, which is interested in purchasing not only Alstom’s energy division, but its railways division as well.

Alstom’s energy division makes up to 70 percent of the company’s total profit and employs nearly 18 thousand people.

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