Alstom CEO says deal to divest vast part of company to GE will save jobs, protect France

Alstom SA's chief executive says the French heavy engineering firm's agreement to sell off most of its power generation business to U.S. rival General Electric Co. will save jobs and protect France's national interests.

Patrick Kron says the $17 billion deal agreed over the weekend "is a combination of Alstom's qualities and GE's economic strength."

After the deal is completed Kron will be left running the company's train, tram and railway signalling business, which accounts for around a quarter of the group's total sales and operating profit. GE will take over Alstom's money-spinning gas turbine business, while the two companies keep equal stakes in the small renewable energy and power grid businesses.

The French state will also buy a stake in the new rump Alstom.