France’s Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron this week authorized the sale of most of Alstom’s energy assets to General Electric, clearing the way for a deal worth almost $17 billion. Pending approval at an Alstom shareholders’ general meeting Dec. 19, GE will gain a huge stake in the European power market.
French government approval of the deal was needed because of a May decree that gave Paris veto rights over foreign bids for “strategic” French companies, notably those in the energy and transport sectors. The economy ministry said this week it was satisfied that “state interests” in France’s nuclear activities and energy security were “fully taken into account” under the deal, said a report in IndustryWeek.
GE in June won a fierce two-month battle to buy most of Alstom’s energy assets, which represent around 70% of the French conglomerate’s revenues, for $16.9 billion. Alstom plans to concentrate more on its rail business, and will buy a railway signaling unit from GE. The two groups will start joint ventures to develop renewable energy, electricity grids and steam turbines, as well.
Alstom released its fiscal results for the half-year from April to the end of September that showed a 32% drop in net income to €255 million.