FAIRFIELD (dpa-AFX) - German conglomerate Siemens AG (SI) offered a swap transaction with French industrial company Alstom SA (ALSMY, AOMFF, ALS.L), in a bid to counter an offer by Diversified conglomerate General Electric Co. (GE), the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.
Siemens proposed a cash deal plus asset swap to acquire Astom's units handling thermal power, renewable power and electric-grids. Siemens valued the businesses at roughly 10 billion euros to 11 billion euros or $13.8 billion-$15.2 billion. It also proposed to contribute significant parts of its rail systems business, which Alstom could merge with its transportation businesses, the Journal said.
Siemens would guarantee jobs in France for at least three years, the report said.
Siemens confirmed today that it has submitted a letter to the Board of Alstom, a manufacturer of high-speed trains and power plant equipment, to signal its willingness to discuss future strategic opportunities. The German company said it will not make further comments at this time.
The U.S. company's offer to buy Alstom's energy assets, which generates more than 70 percent of sales, would leave the French rival with a smaller train unit.
On Wednesday, Bloomberg reported that General Electric was in talks to buy Alstom for more than $13 billion.
On Friday, Bloomberg also reported that Alstom board planned to meet to discuss the potential sale of its power plants and transmission gear to General Electric.
Meanwhile, the reports today indicated that French government has postponed a meeting with General Electric to discuss the US manufacturer's bid for French rival Alstom's energy business, saying that it wants time to examine a separate offer from Germany's Siemens.
Frnace's industry minister, Arnaud Montebourg had been planning to meet Jeffrey Immelt, GE's chief executive, in Paris today to discuss the unconfirmed $13 billion approach. Alstom's board is also expected to meet today to consider the GE offer.
The reports said that Siemens' intervention could find favour with the French government, which was reported to have urged the German group to step forward to prevent a jewel of French industrial prowess falling into US hands.
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