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Merkel Says German Government Would Support Siemens-Alstom Tie-Up

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[May 10, 2014]  By Andreas Rinke
 STRALSUND, Germany (Reuters) - Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday that the German government would support a tie-up between German engineering firm Siemens and French rival Alstom if the corporate decision-makers decide that it would make sense.

Speaking at a news conference with French President Francois Hollande in the Baltic shore town of Stralsund, Merkel said it was above all a corporate decision and her government did not want to intervene in that process.

Cash-strapped Alstom, which makes power generation and transmission systems as well as trains and trams, is the target of a takeover bid from U.S. giant General Electric.

"Those are corporate decisions and we, from the German side at least, will not get involved in that," Merkel said.

"But we talked about it. If the corporate decisions lead to the point where one says 'that would be advantageous' then Germany will also positively accompany it."

Hollande agreed with Merkel that any take-over was above all a corporate decision.

Both said their governments were waiting for Siemens to make an offer. Siemens Chief Executive Joe Kaeser has already discussed a possible bid for Alstom's energy business with Merkel.

"We are awaiting the detailed offer from Siemens before taking a position. We don't want to prejudge the choice," Hollande said.

He also said the French government was focusing on what would be in the best interests of Alstom and Siemens employees.

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Alstom said last week it was reviewing a binding $16.9 billion offer from GE for its energy arm but also left the door open to a potential deal with Germany's Siemens.

The French government has previously signaled that it would prefer a tie-up with German conglomerate Siemens.

(Reporting by Andreas Rinke in Stralsund, Erik Kirschbaum in Berlin and Leigh Thomas in Paris; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

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