Merkel says German government would support Siemens-Alstom tie-up

Sat May 10, 2014 11:51am EDT
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By Andreas Rinke

STRALSUND, Germany (Reuters) - Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday the German government would support a tie-up between engineering firm Siemens and French rival Alstom if the corporate decision-makers decide that it would make sense.

Cash-strapped Alstom, which makes power generation and transmission systems as well as trains and trams, is reviewing a binding $16.9-billion bid by U.S. giant General Electric for the energy activities that make up the bulk of its business.

Sources close to discussions on Alstom's future said the option of the French state taking a stake in the group had been mooted but was not under serious consideration for now.

Speaking at a news conference with French President Francois Hollande in the Baltic town of Stralsund, Merkel said it was above all a corporate decision and her government did not want to intervene in that process.

"Those are corporate decisions and we, from the German side at least, will not get involved in that," Merkel said.

"But we talked about it. If the corporate decisions lead to the point where one says 'that would be advantageous' then Germany will also positively accompany it."

Hollande agreed with Merkel that any takeover was above all a corporate decision and both said their governments were waiting for Siemens to make an offer.

Siemens Chief Executive Joe Kaeser has already discussed a possible bid for Alstom's energy business with Merkel and met French officials about it in Paris on Friday.   Continued...

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) and French President Francois Hollande pose for pictures in front of the tall ship Gorch Fock I, in the northern city of Stralsund, May 10, 2014. REUTERS/Thomas Peter