June 18, 2014 5:22 am JST

Mitsubishi Heavy, Siemens promise 2,000 jobs in Alstom offer

YASUO TAKEUCHI, Nikkei staff writer

PARIS -- The heads of Mitsubishi Heavy and Siemens discussed their bid for Alstom at a news conference and with the French government Tuesday, laying out plans for research and development centers and other steps that would create up to 2,000 jobs in France.

     Mitsubishi Heavy proposed setting up three joint ventures with Alstom in which the Japanese company would hold 20-40% stakes. It would also purchase as much as 10% of Alstom itself.

     "Acquiring more than half of (Alstom's) shares would not be good for France or for Alstom employees," said President Shunichi Miyanaga. "It's better for Alstom to remain a French company."

     Mitsubishi Heavy also aims to work with Alstom in such areas as R&D and parts procurement. Miyanaga noted that his company's presence in Asia and North America and Alstom's firm foothold in Europe can complement each other.

     Miyanaga and Siemens President Joe Kaeser also briefed a parliamentary committee on the proposal.

     "(Mitsubishi Heavy's) 10% stake is meant to show our strong desire to continue cooperating with Alstom over the long term," Miyanaga said. "We want the French government to take a slightly larger stake than ours."

     The Mitsubishi Heavy president showed confidence in the bid. "Our proposal is attractive to France's legislature, public, workers and society," he said.

     Kaeser also asserted that Alstom is capable of stronger growth.

     General Electric, the rival suitor for Alstom, has also pledged to create 1,000 jobs. "We are confident our offer is good for Alstom, for France and for GE," a spokesperson said Monday.

     A meeting of cabinet ministers was held Tuesday morning with President Francois Hollande in attendance, likely to discuss the joint Siemens-Mitsubishi Heavy proposal. Hollande spoke with Miyanaga and Kaeser afterward.

     "The talks between the state and the different companies are going to continue this week," a source from Hollande's office told French media. "The offers must be improved."