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France's Hollande says GE must improve Alstom bid

French President Francois Hollande attends to a guest at the steps of the Elysee Palace in Paris May 5, 2014. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes
French President Francois Hollande attends to a guest at the steps of the Elysee Palace in Paris May 5, 2014. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

PARIS (Reuters) - French President Francois Hollande said General Electric's bid for Alstom's energy business is not acceptable as it stands and that the government's aim is to get better offers.

"The bid is not good enough, it's not acceptable," Hollande told RMC radio on Tuesday.

Asked whether it was possible that the state, which currently holds around 1 percent in Alstom, could itself increase its stake in the ailing engineering group, he said: "For now I would prefer to get better offers."

Alstom said last week it was reviewing a binding $16.9 billion bid from GE for its energy arm, although it has not turned down a rival offer from Germany's Siemens .

French Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg also came out against the GE offer on Monday but opened the door for a deal that would also combine the two companies' rail businesses.

"In its current form, we unfortunately cannot give backing to the proposals that you have made based solely on the purchase of Alstom's energy activities," Montebourg wrote in a letter to GE Chief Executive Jeff Immelt.

Shares in Alstom were 1.1 percent lower at 29.03 euros by 0725 GMT (3.25 a.m. EDT), among the worst performers on a 0.2 percent firmer French blue-chip CAC 40 index <.FCHI>.

(Reporting by Mark John and Ingrid Melander; Editing by James Regan)

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