GE versus Siemens: why this battle for Alstom energy business ?

A number of news outlets are reporting today about an interesting development the race to buy French engineering group Alstrom. For example, Jeremy Bogaisky of Forbes writes:

The board of the struggling French industrial company Alstom formally accepted a net $13.5 billion all-cash offer from General Electric (GE) for its energy businesses Wednesday, giving the U.S. conglomerate a leg up over a bid from rival Siemens that the French government favors.

To assuage the concerns of President Francois Hollande’s administration over job losses, GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt promised to increase headcount in the country and make it GE’s global base for its steam turbine, electric grid, offshore wind and hydropower businesses.

I am quite intrigued by the battle between GE and Siemens for the Alstom energy business. It consists mostly of steam engines for coal and (especially) french nuclear plants (building and maintenance). Is this strategic positioning for things to come ? If the E-Cat report is positive, and an industrial use of the Hotcat for electric production is feasible in the near future there is of course a gigantic market to be taken.

The ripe fruits would be:

1/ Dangerous Nuclear plants. Especially in France stress tests seem to have been mellow because there is simply no short term alternative given the 75% reliance on Nuclear power.

2/ Coalplants which are the worst polluters in terms of CO2 and NOX and should urgently be taken off the grid.

Both specialities of Alstom.

Michael S

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