The French government is set to recommend a joint 4 billion-euro ($6 billion) bid by Alstom SA and Schneider Electric SA for Areva SA’s transmission and distribution unit, two people familiar with the matter said.
A final decision will be made by Areva’s supervisory board, which meets tonight, said the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the decision hasn’t been disclosed. General Electric Co. and Toshiba Corp. also made bids.
Areva is 91 percent owned by the French government, which had the final say in choosing a winner. Paris-based Areva became the third-largest provider of power transmission and distribution equipment behind ABB Ltd. and Siemens AG after buying the unit in 2004 for 920 million euros from Alstom. French President Nicolas Sarkozy orchestrated the sale as finance minister to avert Alstom’s breakdown.
Areva is selling the unit again to fund expansion in the global nuclear power market. Alstom, which makes high-speed trains and energy-generation equipment, and Schneider, a maker of circuit breakers, have said they would create a common structure which would bid for Areva T&D and, if successful, transfer the transmission activities to Alstom and the distribution activities to Schneider.
GE spokesman Jim Healy declined to comment....MORE