UPDATE 2-Alstom says not told of any takeover offer from GE

* Alstom to give update on its prospects on May 7

* GE declines to comment, Bouygues not reachable

* Any bid from foreign group would raise eyebrows in France

* Alstom was bailed out by French state in 2004

(Recasts with latest Alstom comment, context)

PARIS/NEW YORK, April 24 (Reuters) - Alstom said on Thursday it was not informed of any potential public tender offer for its shares, which opened 17 percent higher after Bloomberg reported that General Electric was in talks to buy the French turbine and train maker for about $13 billion.

The companies may announce the deal as early as next week, Bloomberg cited people with knowledge of the matter as saying.

The report said the deal would give GE control of Alstom's high-speed TGV trains and rail-signal technology and that the move had the support of Bouygues, Alstom's biggest shareholder with a 29 percent stake.

"In response to recent speculation in the economic press, Alstom is not informed of any potential public tender offer for the shares of the Company," Alstom said in a statement.

"The Group constantly reviews the strategic options of its businesses," it said, adding it would use give an update on its prospects on May 7, when it releases its annual results.

A spokesman for Bouygues, which will hold its annual shareholder meeting later on Thursday, did not respond to phone messages requesting comment. A GE spokesman declined to comment.

Alstom shares have slumped 20 percent in the past 12 months on concerns over its cash flow, prompting Bouygues to take a $1.9 billion writedown on its stake in February.

Alstom has been hit hard by a drop in orders for power equipment from utilities, which in turn are suffering from weak electricity prices.

The group, which now has a market capitalisation of about $10.37 billion, announced 1,300 job cuts last year and put assets up for sale to raise cash, including a stake in its transport business, which makes France's prized high-speed TGV trains.

If confirmed, a takeover offer from a foreign company would raise eyebrows among politicians and unions in France, where Alstom employs around 18,000 staff, or 20 percent of its global workforce. The group was bailed out by the French state a decade ago and has strongly relied on orders from national rail operator SNCF and utility EDF.

No one could immediately be reached for comment at the office of Arnaud Montebourg, France's Economy Minister in the freshly reshuffled Socialist government.

Firebrand Montebourg, known for attacking big business and the European Commission, last year intervened to prevent Yahoo from taking over French online video-sharing site Dailymotion from historic telecoms operator Orange.

He also illustrated himself for telling Lakshmi Mittal, the Indian-born chief executive of the ArcelorMittal steel group, that he was not welcome in France, and he most recently openly supported Bouygues in its battle for SFR.


GE has been targeting acquisitions in the $1 billion to $4 billion range, but comments from executives on its first-quarter conference call last Thursday signaled to some analysts that the company would be willing to strike a larger deal.

Chief Financial Officer Jeff Bornstein said in an interview last Thursday that the conglomerate would consider spending more if the deal was "absolute strike zone," including targets that fit with its main businesses and offer significant cost savings.

GE Chief Executive Jeff Immelt is seeking to increase the company's profit contribution from its industrial manufacturing businesses, while reducing exposure to its GE Capital finance unit.

Meanwhile, hit by Europe's economic weakness and its strong reliance on orders from utilities, Alstom has struggled with lower demand for the huge turbines and other components it supplies to coal and gas-fired power stations. Its train business has held up better and secured record orders.

Bouygues pumped 2 billion euros into Alstom in 2006 when it took over a 21 percent stake that the French government had acquired to rescue Alstom from near-bankruptcy a decade ago.

Bouygues wrote down the value of its stake by about 31 percent in February after Alstom cut its full-year forecasts for free cash flow and operating profitability.

However, Chief Executive Martin Bouygues had said during the group's annual results meeting in February that was "comfortable" with its stake in Alstom. Bouygues also said in March it was not looking to sell its stake to finance its takeover bid for SFR.

(Reporting by Aman Shah in Bangalore, Natalie Huet in Paris and Lewis Krauskopf in New York; Editing by Savio D'Souza, John Stonestreet)