GE CEO Immelt says still expects to close Alstom deal

Wed May 21, 2014 2:47pm EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Lewis Krauskopf

(Reuters) - General Electric Co (GE.N: Quote) Chief Executive Jeff Immelt said on Wednesday that GE is still going to "work constructively" with the French government on its bid for the power business of Alstom (ALSO.PA: Quote) and that he expects the deal to close.

GE has encountered resistance to its $16.9 billion proposal from the government, which has sought to encourage Germany's Siemens (SIEGn.DE: Quote) as a potential rival bidder. But Immelt told an investor conference on Wednesday that, "We wouldn't have started if we didn't think we could finish."

"It's a deal that's executable. It's a deal we're experienced in. It's a deal we expect to close," Immelt said at the Electrical Products Group conference.

GE last month made its offer for Alstom's power turbine and grid arm in a deal designed to expand its installed base of power turbines, get a more complete offering to power customers, and broaden GE's presence in emerging markets.

In an attempt to get better bids for Alstom, seen as a center of French engineering know-how, French President Francois Hollande's government has weighed in on the talks, creating some uncertainty. Alstom, which has welcomed GE's proposal, has given itself until the end of the month to review its options.

The French government last week gave itself the power to block foreign corporate takeovers in "strategic" sectors, throwing up a potential roadblock to GE's bid.

Asked about the potential for a lengthy tussle over Alstom to turn into a distraction for GE, Immelt said, "You have to trust us a little bit that we know what we're doing."

"We know how to work with governments. We have an impeccable reputation in France," Immelt said. "I don't sit here and say, 'God, I'm surprised.' We've done this before."   Continued...

General Electric Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Immelt (L) and Clara Gaymard, the head of GE France, arrive for a meeting with France's President Francois Hollande to discuss the future of French engineering group Alstom at the Elysee Palace in Paris, April 28, 2014. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer