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PARIS (Reuters) - French train maker Alstom (ALSO.PA) should use the proceeds of the sale of its energy unit to make acquisitions abroad and could consider a tie-up with Canadian rival Bombardier (BBDb.TO), French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday.
"Alstom's challenge is to grow," Macron told senators. "The reduction of its debt should help it acquire competitors abroad," the minister said.
Asked by a senator whether Alstom could be interested in a tie-up with Bombardier, Macron said competition was rife with Chinese rivals and that a tie-up with the Canadian group, which makes passenger railcars and locomotives, could be necessary.
Quebec's public pension fund manager said last month it would buy a 30 percent stake in Bombardier's rail business for $1.5 billion to provide a bigger cash cushion for its troubled planemaking unit.
Reporting by Michel Rose and Yann Le Guernigou; editing by Susan Thomas