France Gets EU Backing for Takeover Decree
France has received EU backing for a new decree allowing the government to block foreign takeovers of French companies in strategic industries, Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg said on Thursday. In a surprise move, the government widened in May its control over mergers in industries deemed key to France's national interests as General Electric was seeking to buy the energy assets of French group Alstom. "The European Commission in recent days notified the French government of its approval of the decree as perfectly in line with European treaties," Montebourg said in a speech.
France Picks: GE is the One for Alstom
France chose General Electric to form an alliance with Alstom on Friday - rejecting an offer from Siemens and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries - but said the deal still needed some work and added it would buy a 20 percent stake in the hotly-contested company. Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg said he had used a newly- created state decree to reject both of the existing offers as not being in France's strategic interest, and had formulated fresh demands to GE Chief Executive Jeff Immelt.
Areva Confirms to Change Management Structure
State-owned French nuclear power engineering group Areva confirmed on Tuesday that it would change its governance structure after pressure from its main shareholders, the state and the French Atomic Energy Commission. The move creates a single board of directors, replacing a two tier structure where an executive board is overseen by a supervisory board. "The objective of this reform is to provide better support to the general management team, with a clear sharing of roles and more collaboration between the board of directors and general management…
Siemens Weighs In As GE Prepares Alstom Power Deal
Alstom's arch rival Siemens wants talks with the struggling French engineering group, the German company said on Sunday, the day General Electric boss Jeff Immelt is due in Paris to thrash out a deal to buy Alstom's global power arm. Siemens said in a statement that it had written a letter to "signal its willingness to discuss future strategic opportunities" with the French group. France's government has said it wants to find alternatives to the GE offer, which sources say puts a value of $13 billion on the turbines and power grid equipment business and could be announced in days.