Alstom warns Europe could block Siemens deal

By BLOOMBERG

PARIS • Alstom SA and Siemens AG’s planned rail merger appeared to be increasingly in danger of collapse, with the French company warning of a possible block by European antitrust regulators and its former German rival said to be considering alternatives for its business.

“It’s a very frustrating moment for us. We’ll fight until the end,” Alstom CEO Henri Poupart-Lafarge said on a call with analysts yesterday.

The French equipment maker said in a statement that its attempts to render the deal more palatable to the European Commission may come up empty.

Siemens and Alstom submitted on Dec 12 so-called remedies to alleviate European concerns about future competition in the region and then improved on them amid talks with the commission, Alstom said. The assets proposed for disposal, mainly rolling stock and signalling activities making up about 4% of sales of the planned new company, are “appropriate and adequate”.

For its part, Siemens is preparing for the possibility that the deal will be scuttled, and would consider all other options for its train division including a listing and acquisitions, according to a person familiar with the matter. The proposed assets for sale are as much as the companies can bear while still making the deal worthwhile, another person said.

With combined sales of about €15 billion (RM69.92 billion), the planned entity has support from Germany and France.