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France okays General Electic take-over of Alstom energy assets

media French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron. Reuters/Philippe Wojazer

France has authorised the sale of most of Alstom’s energy assets to the US’s General Electric (GE) in a 13-billion-euro deal. Alstom’s shares fell 1.45 per cent when the news was announced on Wednesday morning.

Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron cleared GE’s buy-up of the majority of Alstom’s energy assets and “the creation of an industrial alliance between the two groups in the energy sector”, a ministry statement said.

A shareholders’ meeting on the deal will be held on 19 December, Alstom said.

Dossier: Eurozone in crisis

A May decree, sparked by then-economy minister Arnaud Montebourg’s concern over the GE bid, gave the government veto rights over foreign bids for “strategic” French companies, especially in the energy and transport sectors.

The economy ministry declared that the state’s interests in France’s nuclear programme and energy security have been “fully taken into account” in the deal.

In June GE won its battle to buy Alstom’s energy interests, which represent about 70 per cent of the French company’s revenue, for 16.9 billion dollars (12.35 billion euros at the time).

Alstom is to concentrate on its rail business and will buy a railway signalling unit fro GE.

The two groups will start joing ventures in renewable energy, electricity grids and steam turbines.

Alstom’s half-year fiscal results, released on Wednesday, showed a 32-per-cent drop to 255 million euros.
 

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