Immelt says GE is open to an alliance with France

|By:, SA News Editor

GE is willing to partner with France's government in a possible alliance, CEO Jeffrey Immelt told French lawmakers today, as he tried to win their support for GE's bid for Alstom's (ALSMY) power equipment business.

Immelt didn't offer specifics, but GE hadn't previously stated a willingness to a government investment in a business resulting from any acquisition of Alstom's assets.

A GE spokesman says the company is not offering the French government a stake in the steam turbine business; French Economy Minister Montebourg is worried that a GE deal could disrupt the supply of Alstom turbines to Electricit├ę de France (ECIFF), which uses them to make France's world-class nuclear reactors.

Immelt said today GE understands the "importance of the sovereignty of the nuclear industry" in France, adding that GE had been working with EDF for decades.

Siemens' (SIEGY) Christophe de Maistre told the lawmakers today that his company's eventual bid would spawn two separate companies: a power equipment firm and a train giant that would combine Alstom's high-speed train operations with Siemens' rolling-stock business.