PARIS, June 22 (Xinhua) -- The French government on Sunday announced the acquisition of 20 percent stake in Alstom, making it the major shareholder in the country's main engineering group and paving the way for a tie-up with American General Electrics (GE).
"The agreement with Bouygues gives the state the means to acquire with certainty 20 percent stake in Alstom. It preserves the heritage interest of the state while guaranteeing the rights of governance that sought to ensure the long-term interest of Alstom," Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg said.
With the stake deal, the government targeted to "stabilize the business capital provide and long-term support in implementing its strategic plan and its alliance with General Electric," a statement of the French presidency said.
Under the business deal, Bouygues will initially lend Alstom stock to the French state so that the government can exercise an immediate role as the group's main shareholder.
For the next 20 months, the state has an option to purchase a maximum of 20 percent of Alstom's capital held by Bouygues at an unspecified discount, provided the market value is at least 35 euros (about 47.58 U.S. dollars) per share.
By then, the accord offered it the purchase of up to 15 percent at a similar discount.
In order to have strong say on foreign takeovers of major sectors, the Socialists issued a decree by which they could block deals if they would not preserve domestic industries and protect national interest.