Alstom shares suspended amid takeover talk

Staff at the firm's Rugby site carry out a range of functions, including developing products for power plants
Staff at the firm's Rugby site carry out a range of functions, including developing products for power plants

Shares in French engineering company Alstom, which employs around 700 people at its site in Rugby, remain suspended as speculation mounts that it is about to be sold.

German company Siemens has confirmed it is considering mounting a bid for Alstom. This comes after reports which surfaced last week that the US multinational General Electric (GE) was negotiating a $13 billion offer for the company.

Siemens has submitted a letter to the board of Alstom to signal its willingness to discuss “future strategic opportunities”. Today (Monday) a delegation from Siemens met with the French president Francois Hollande and other high-ranking French political leaders. “Following this meeting, Siemens will convene as soon as possible to decide whether to make an offer for Alstom and what this will consist of,” said a spokesman.

In a press statement issued late on Sunday night, Alstom said it “continues and deepens its strategic reflection” and will make a further announcement no later than the morning of Wednesday April 30. In the meantime, the company has requested that the trading of its shares on the Paris stock exchange remains suspended.

Alstom employs 93,000 people worldwide and has business interests in about 100 countries.

Its site in Newbold Road, Rugby, hosts research, development and testing facilities for a range of power plant products as well as centres of excellence for steam turbine development, design, retrofit and refurbishment.

The factory also specialises in the repair, restoration and service of steam turbines from around the globe.

Last year Alstom announced it would cut 1,300 jobs and sell part of its transport business, which makes France’s high-speed TGV trains. In January it revealed that its full-year profits had been hit by a drop in demand for power plants.

For the first nine months of its 2013/14 financial year (from April 1 to December 31 2013), Alstom’s order intake reached €15.1 billion, a 12 per cent decrease compared to the first nine months of 2012/13.