Hitachi May Join Mitsubishi, Siemens in Alstom Bid

PARIS (The Deal) -- Japanese engineering group Hitachi said Thursday that it is interested in joining peer Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Germany's Siemens in their bid for Alstom's power-equipment unit, potentially adding financial muscle to a consortium that is hoping to beat General Electric (GE) to acquire the French operation.

A joint bid would enable the Japanese companies to maintain the status quo in a thermal power joint venture that was established in FebruarY and help Hitachi achieve its aim of doubling the proportion of sales that it makes outside of Japan.

"Hitachi is aware of the Alstom issue ... we think this is a favorable development for the thermal generation power partners MHI [Mitsubishi] and Hitachi and we would like to continue to collaborate in this regard as well," Hitachi's Katsumi Nagasawa, who is power systems head, told analysts on Thursday.

The comments came a day after Siemens and Mitsubishi said they were working on a joint bid for Alstom's energy unit, to counter an 11.4 billion euro ($15.4 billion) offer from Fairfield Conn.-based GE.

Hitachi and Mitsubishi could jointly bid 500 billion yen ($4.9 billion) for Alstom's steam turbine business, while Siemens will bid the same amount for the gas turbine operation, Japan's Nikkei newspaper reported on Thursday. Mitsubishi will purchase a 65% stake in the Alstom operation, leaving Hitachi with 35%, in line with their respective share of the power business joint venture, Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Ltd, according to the paper.

Mitsubishi is also considering a bid for Alstom's energy grid operations, a source with knowledge of the situation said on Wednesday. That was contradicted Thursday by the Nikkei report, which claimed that the Japanese and German bid partners will not make an offer for the grid operations.

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