GE would offer concessions to win EU approval of Alstom deal: executive

Mon May 11, 2015 4:51pm EDT
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By Foo Yun Chee and Lewis Krauskopf

NEW YORK/BRUSSELS (Reuters) - General Electric Co (GE.N: Quote) said on Monday for the first time it would be willing to consider concessions in order to win European approval to acquire the power equipment unit of France's Alstom (ALSO.PA: Quote).

"We are willing to explore remedies to get this deal done even though again we believe in the merits of the deal," Steve Bolze, president and CEO of GE Power & Water, the conglomerate's biggest industrial unit, told Reuters in an interview.

Any concessions would have to "preserve the deal economics and our strategic value," he said.

Bolze, however, declined to discuss any potential areas of remedies that GE might consider.

Earlier on Monday, Reuters reported that the U.S. conglomerate was unlikely to gain unconditional European Union clearance for its 12.4 billion euro ($13.83 billion) bid, citing two sources familiar with the matter.

The European Commission opened a full investigation in February to consider competition implications of a deal that would remove one of GE's three rivals in the manufacturing of heavy-duty turbines for gas-fired power plants.

EU regulators typically prefer merging companies to sell overlapping assets or make it easy for rivals to enter the market. GE's gas turbine competitors include Siemens AG (SIEGn.DE: Quote) and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd (7011.T: Quote).

The Alstom deal, which would be the biggest acquisition in GE's history, stands to expand GE's installed base of power turbines, which would allow GE to gain even more lucrative revenue from servicing the equipment.   Continued...

The logo of Alstom is pictured on a building during an inaugural visit of the Alstom offshore wind turbine plants in Montoir-de-Bretagne, near Saint-Nazaire, western France, December 2, 2014. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe