PARIS (Reuters) - German engineering group Siemens is offering Alstom half of its train-making business plus cash in exchange for its French rival's power turbines division, Le Figaro newspaper reported on Sunday.
Le Figaro said it had seen the contents of a letter - the existence of which was announced by Siemens earlier on Sunday - in which the German company offered a potential alternative to the deal U.S. company General Electric was preparing to negotiate with Alstom.
The Siemens deal outlined by Le Figaro has similarities to past plans to combine the businesses. The paper said the offer was informal, but detailed, and included a proposal for Alstom - maker of TGV high-speed trains - to take on Siemens' high-speed trains and locomotives arm, but not its metropolitan trains division. Le Figaro gave no details of the cash part of the deal.
Earlier on Sunday, Siemens said its letter was a signal of its "willingness to discuss future strategic opportunities" with Alstom - only hours before GE boss Jeff Immelt was due in Paris to thrash out a deal to buy Alstom's global power arm.
A spokeswoman for Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg subsequently said Immelt's meeting had been postponed "for a few days."
The French government wants to find alternatives to the GE offer, which sources said puts a value of $13 billion on the turbines and power grid equipment business and could be announced in days.
Montebourg said in Sunday the GE deal was "a purchase of the energy part of Alstom" while the Siemens deal was a deal to "create two European champions in the energy and transport domains," but added he "will not accept" any hasty decision.
Siemens declined to comment on the report. Alstom has declined to comment on the Siemens announcement and a spokeswoman could not confirm the details in the report.
(Reporting by Andrew Callus in Paris and Maria Sheahan in Frankfurt; Editing by Sophie Walker)