General Electric has agreed to extend its $16.9bn bid for troubled French engineering conglomerate Alstom's energy unit to 23 June, from 2 June, following a request by the French government.

GE said it had agreed to the extension to aid discussions with Paris. Alstom welcomed the decision.

French Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg has also welcomed GE's move, saying it is in all parties' interests to find a solution before 23 June.

French Solution

Montebourg said on 22 May that the government was examining an all-French solution for Alstom that could involve public funds, reported Reuters.

Earlier in the week, GE chief executive Jeff Immelt said his firm will "work constructively" with the French on its bid for Alstom's power division and that he expects the deal to close.

Immelt also said a deal will expedite GE's goal of transitioning toward its industrial businesses and away from its finance unit. GE expects 75% of its earnings to come from industrial businesses by 2016, up from 55% in 2013.

French Takeover Law

The French government last week boosted its takeover law with lawmakers creating new powers to prevent foreign takeover of "strategic" industrial groups, throwing up a potential obstacle to GE's bid.

GE's $16.9bn (£10bn, €12.4bn) proposal has run into opposition from Paris, which has sought to encourage larger German competitor Siemens as a probable rival bidder.