PARIS (AP) -- Alstom SA's chief executive says the French heavy engineering firm's agreement to sell off most of its power generation business to U.S. rival General Electric Co. will save jobs and protect France's national interests.
Patrick Kron says the $17 billion deal agreed over the weekend "is a combination of Alstom's qualities and GE's economic strength."
After the deal is completed Kron will be left running the company's train, tram and railway signalling business, which accounts for around a quarter of the group's total sales and operating profit. GE will take over Alstom's money-spinning gas turbine business, while the two companies keep equal stakes in the small renewable energy and power grid businesses.
Alstom SA's board approved GE's offer on Saturday, after GE promised to create jobs and improved its offer, and the government withdrew its long-held opposition. Germany's Siemens and Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries had presented a rival combined offer but failed to win over Alstom's board.
For GE, the deal is part of its new focus on building and servicing industrial equipment such as aircraft engines, power-plant turbines and oil and gas drilling equipment. The U.S. company sold its remaining interest in NBC Universal last year as part of the shift.