Siemens and Mitsubishi eye joint bid for Alstom assets

Wed Jun 11, 2014 1:07pm EDT
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By Jens Hack and Benjamin Mallet

MUNICH/PARIS (Reuters) - Siemens (SIEGn.DE: Quote) is in talks with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (7011.T: Quote) over a joint bid for the energy assets of France's Alstom (ALSO.PA: Quote), a move which could help the German firm overcome antitrust hurdles.

With a deadline looming for Siemens to submit an offer for the Alstom assets, the Munich-based firm and its Japanese counterpart issued a joint statement saying they would decide on a possible bid by Monday.

Taking Mitsubishi on board could give Siemens more firepower and flexibility as it mulls how best to counter a rival $17 billion bid for Alstom's power activities by U.S. conglomerate General Electric (GE.N: Quote).

Bloomberg reported earlier that one option being discussed was for Mitsubishi to bid for Alstom's steam turbine and power grid businesses while Siemens would acquire its gas turbine operations. Steam turbines are used in coal and nuclear power plants while gas turbines go into gas powered plants.

The move could help assuage concerns in Brussels about the dominant position of a combined Siemens and Alstom energy business, particularly in power grids.

Siemens is already a close second to Switzerland's ABB ABBn.VX in the global market for high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission gear, used for long-distance power lines and all offshore wind parks.

"Collaborating with Mitsubishi would be a clever move in as much as it addresses some concerns in the market that Siemens could overburden itself with an Alstom takeover," said Union Investment fund manager Christoph Niesel.

But Niesel said worries would persist that an Alstom deal could distract new Chief Executive Joe Kaeser from a major restructuring, announced only last month, which is designed to refocus Siemens on profitable businesses.   Continued...

The logo of French power and transport engineering company Alstom is pictured on the roof of the company's plant in Reichshoffen near Haguenau, North Eastern France, April 24, 2014. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler