France approves $13.5 bn GE-Alstom deal

The French government recently gave formal approval to General Electric’s $13.5 billion deal for the energy business of Alstom, the French power and transportation company. The approval was announced in a statement from the economy minister, Emmanuel Macron.

The latest approval has come less than seven months after the announcement of a deal that rocked the world of French business. The government’s clearance was required because of a law enacted under Mr. Macron’s predecessor, Arnaud Montebourg, which required all foreign investments in strategic sectors to be reviewed.

Alstom’s power-generation equipment and electrical grid businesses are top suppliers to the French nuclear energy companies Areva and Électricité de France. Macron said he was confident “that the interests of the state, the continuation of the nuclear industry and France’s energy security have been fully taken into account,” according to the statement.

All that is needed now is the backing of Alstom’s shareholders at a Dec. 19 meeting and the agreement of the antitrust authorities in 20 countries, said Steve Bolze, president of GE Power & Water. The deal is on track to close in mid-2015, Bolze said.