The element of corruption that lurks behind the deal between Alstom and GE

By and

The long-running saga of negotiations over General Electric’s 16.9 billion-dollar bid for the energy arm of French engineering group Alstom continued this week when GE’s chief executive Jeff Immelt met for further negotiations with French President François Hollande. GE is engaged in a poker match with the French government which has made no secret of its preference for a mooted counter-bid from German firm Siemens, despite the Alstom board’s choice to do a deal with the US giant. But hidden behind all the talk of decisions of industrial strategy, synergy and job guarantees, a quite separate consideration appears to help explain both the rapidity and secrecy of the deal first agreed between between Alstom and GE on April 23rd, the day when a former senior Alstom executive was arrested in the US Virgin Islands on corruption charges. Fabrice Arfi and Martine Orange report.

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April 23rd was a notable day in the 84-year history of French engineering group Alstom. According to the official version of events, it was then that Alstom’s chairman and CEO Patrick Kron met with General Electric (GE) chief executive Jeff Immelt to discuss the US corporation’s interest in purchasing Alstom’s energy division. The meeting between the two had barely ended when the Bloomberg news agency revealed that GE was about to launch a bid for the French group.