Alstom SA, the French company that sold most of its energy assets to General Electric Co. to refocus on rail, said it will buy back 3.2 billion euros ($3.5 billion) of its own shares, the low end of the range indicated in July.
As much as 91.5 million shares will be purchased, or almost 30 percent of the total, the company, headquartered in Saint-Ouen near Paris, said in a statement on Wednesday. The price was set at 35 euros a share, compared with a closing price in Paris of 30.99 euros.
“We propose to distribute to our shareholders a part of the proceeds of the transaction with General Electric,” Chief Executive Officer Patrick Kron said in the statement. “Alstom, refocused on its transport activities, will have a solid balance sheet to enable an ambitious growth strategy.”
Alstom, which has said it will have little or no net debt after the GE transaction and the share buyback, is focusing on a rail market that is starting to consolidate. China’s two largest trainmakers have agreed to merge, Japan’s Hitachi Ltd. has bought Italian trainmaker AnsaldoBreda SpA, while Canada’s Bombardier Inc. is considering selling a stake in its rail unit.
Bouygues SA, which owns about 29 percent of Alstom, will maintain the level of its shareholding after the buyback.