GE-Alstom Deal
GE open to concessions to win EU approval of €12.4bn Alstom deal.Reuters

General Electric (GE) is willing to consider concessions to win European regulatory approval to acquire Alstom's power business.

The €12.4bn (£8.9bn, $13.9bn) deal for Alstom's power equipment unit, announced over a year ago, remains under review, and GE executive Steve Bolze told Reuters: "We are willing to explore remedies to get this deal done even though again we believe in the merits of the deal."

Bolze, president and CEO of GE Power & Water, the American conglomerate's biggest industrial unit, acknowledged the "protracted process" for Alstom, and said GE was focused on "how to move ... forward as it makes sense".

Bolze added that any concessions will have to "preserve the deal economics and our strategic value.

He, however, refused to discuss any potential areas of remedies that GE might consider.

Alstom's shares were trading 2.13% lower at 10.10am, on 12 May, in Paris.

GE shares finished 1.61% lower on 11 May in New York trade. Analysts have said they doubt GE's stock will take a big hit should the deal collapse, and expect that GE could make up those earnings with stock buybacks or other deals.

Antitrust probe

GE, on 11 May, said that it expects European regulators to resume their antitrust investigation into the GE-Alstom deal this week and that a temporary suspension was part of the regulatory process.

GE said: "This is a procedural step to give them time to review additional information."

EC spokesman Ricardo Cardoso said regulators were awaiting data from the companies before setting a new deadline to act. The previous deadline was 6 August.

Earlier on Monday (11 May), Reuters reported that the GE was unlikely to gain unconditional EU clearance for its Alstom bid.

EC scrutiny

Last week, GE Chief Executive Jeff Immelt met European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager to present the merits of his company's case.

The European Commission (EC) halted its scrutiny of the GE-Alstom deal on 24 April, according to a filing on the EC website, after initiating a probe in February to consider competition implications of a deal that would remove one of GE's three rivals in the manufacturing of heavy-duty turbines for gas-fired power plants.

Earlier in April, during GE's first-quarter earnings conference call, Immelt backed the deal's fit for GE, but said if it "ever would become unattractive, we wouldn't do it".

The Alstom deal, which will be GE's biggest acquisition, will expand the conglomerate's installed base of power turbines, allowing it to gain more lucrative revenue from servicing the equipment.

GE's gas turbine competitors include Siemens and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.