GE Executives Meet Hollande
GE CEO effrey Immelt (R), Senior Vice President for Corporate Business Development John Flannery and Clara Gaymard (L), the head of GE France, leave after a meeting with the French President at the Elysee Palace in Paris on 28 May.Reuters

General Electric has bettered its offer for troubled French engineering conglomerate Alstom's energy unit, in particular regarding the impact on jobs, an official at President Francois Hollande's office has said.

The remarks, which follow a meeting between Hollande and GE chief executive Jeff Immelt, hint at a change of tone from the French government.

Paris had previously disapproved of GE's $16.9bn (£10.1bn, €12.4bn) bid for Alstom's power division and, earlier in the month, boosted its takeover law giving itself the power to prevent a foreign takeover of "strategic" industrial groups -- a potential obstacle to GE's bid.

"Today we can see that GE's offer has been detailed, improved, strengthened," the official at Hollande's office said on 28 May.

There is still "some work to be done," the official added, reported Reuters.

Alstom's stock was trading 1.43% higher at 13:15 CEST in Paris after jumping 2.12% earlier in the day.

On 27 May, Immelt told French lawmakers GE will make detailed commitments to boost jobs in France.

He also said GE was mulling an alliance in rail signalling that will give Alstom control of that business, addressing French concerns that a sale of the energy unit will weaken Alstom by reducing it to its transport arm.

Rival Bid

The French government has sought to encourage larger German competitor Siemens as a probable rival bidder.

Siemens France said on 27 May the group hoped to table a formal offer for most of Alstom's power assets by 16 June and in exchange surrender its own trains business.

French Solution

Earlier, French Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg on 22 May said the government was examining an all-French solution for Alstom that could involve public funds.