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French ministers met on Thursday to discuss the fate of cash-strapped engineering group Alstom as Siemens and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries hatched a plan to beat an offer by U.S. conglomerate General Electric. The German and Japanese groups said on Wednesday they were discussing a joint offer for Alstom’s energy assets that would compete with GE’s $17 billion proposal and, according to the Nikkei newspaper, would be worth around $9.8 billion. Two sources familiar with the Siemens-Mitsubishi plan said it would not be a direct buyout of Alstom’s power assets but would rather set up one or several joint holdings in power.



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