French State Returns Alstom Shares to Bouygues

France's National Shareholding Agency said Wednesday it had returned the 20% sharehold in Alstom SA (ALO.FR) lent to it by Bouygues SA (EN.FR), in line with its commitment to the train-maker's recently announced merger with Siemens AG (SIE.XE).

The agency chose not to exercise the call option on the shares, which expired Tuesday. After returning the shares, Bouygues reclaimed its position as Alstom's largest shareholder with a stake of around 28%.

Bouygues lent the shares to the French government as part of a deal reached in 2016 to sell Alstom's energy assets to General Electric Co. (GE). The government at the time was reluctant to let more French industrial crown jewels fall into foreign control and refused to sign off on GE's acquisition until it had secured most of Bouygues's Alstom stake.

Since that time Alstom has focused exclusively on its transport business and announced in September that it would merge with Siemens's mobility business to create a pan-European train and signaling manufacturer.

Write to Nathan Allen at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2017 04:22 ET (08:22 GMT)