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24.04.14

Alstom rebuffs rumoured GE takeover talks

Alstom, which has extensive interests in the UK rail industry, has played down speculation that it is in takeover talks with US manufacturing giantGeneral Electric (GE).

Reports from across the economic press, originated by Bloomberg, have suggested that GE could buy out the French company for around $13bn (£7.75bn), by as early as next week.

However, Alstom said: “In response to recent speculation in the economic press, Alstom is not informed of any potential public tender offer for the shares of the company.

But added: “The group constantly reviews the strategic options of its businesses.”

Alstom has operations across a number of power and industrial sectors, and it is also a well-known train manufacturer and maintainer, and has interests in other rail systems too. Alstom Transport employs 2,000 people in the UK at more than 20 locations. The rolling stock it has built and/or maintains includes the West Coast Main Line Pendolinos, the Tube stock on the Jubilee and Northern lines, and the Nottingham Tramlink.

Over the last few years, Alstom’s transport division has been winning record orders but the economic slowdown in Europe and emerging markets has sapped the firm’s power equipment business, leading it to lower its profit forecast in January, Alstom’s second reduction in nine months.

Bouygues, which became a stakeholder in Alstom in 2006 and has a 29% stake in the company, declined to comment on whether there were any takeover talks.

Instead the company referred back to Alstom’s statement, which added: “Alstom plans to communicate as scheduled on May 7 its annual results and will use this opportunity to give an update on the prospects of its activities.”

At the time of publication, GE could not be reached for comment on the potential takeover talks. The company, one of the biggest in the world, employs 18,000 people in the UK across its Technology Infrastructure, Energy Infrastructure, GE Capital and NBC Universal businesses. Its own transportation division supplies railway signalling systems and products to the UK rail network.

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