By Greg Keller
PARIS -- French President Francois Hollande met Sunday with top members of the government to discuss Alstom, hours after the economy minister warned the engineering company not to pursue a "precipitous" tie-up with U.S. giant General Electric (GE).
Hollande met with Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg and Prime Minister Manuel Valls at the Elysee palace, according to a statement from the president's office. Energy Minister Segolene Royal also took part in the meeting to discuss Alstom's jobs, industrial presence and the impact on France's energy independence, according to the statement.
Earlier Sunday, Montebourg said France's national interest is at stake in a potential sale of engineering giant Alstom, warning the company against making a hasty deal with General Electric.
Meanwhile, Alstom said in its own statement late Sunday that it will request that trading in its stock, which was suspended Friday, remain suspended pending a statement it said would come "no later than Wednesday 30 April."
Montebourg said in a statement that the government wants time to examine a separate offer from German rival Siemens (SI) aimed at creating two "European champions" in transport and power engineering.
Montebourg said that "given the strategic stakes for French industry and economy, the government won't accept any precipitous decision made without taking account of alternative choices in the national interest."
The government "wants to have the time to make a serious examination of the proposals," Montebourg said.
Last week, unsourced rumors in the French media suggested that GE and Alstom were preparing to announce a tie-up as early as Monday.