Alstom is a French multinational company operating worldwide in rail
transport markets, active in the fields of passenger transportation,
signalling and locomotives, with products including the AGV, TGV,
Pendolino high-speed trains, in addition to suburban,
regional and metro trains, and
Alstom (originally as Alsthom) was formed from a merger between
Compagnie Française Thomson Houston and the Société Alsacienne de
Constructions Mécaniques in 1928; significant acquisitions included
the Constructions Electriques de France (1932), shipbuilder Chantiers
de l'Atlantique (1976), and parts of
ACEC SA (Belgium, late 1980s). A
merger with parts of the
General Electric Company plc
General Electric Company plc (UK) formed
GEC-Alsthom in 1989; the company became
Alstom in 1998.
Alstom was in financial crisis due to massive inherited
unexpected costs (€4 billion) arising from a design flaw
inherited from the acquisition of ABB Group's turbine business, in
addition to losses in other areas of the business. The company
required a €3.2 billion state-backed bailout in 2003 – and as
a result was required to sell several divisions including shipbuilding
and electrical transmission to Nikhanj Power, in order to comply with
EU rules on state aid.
General Electric (GE) announced that a
US$17 billion (€12.4 billion) bid for the company's power
and grid divisions had been made and provisionally accepted. After
modification of the deal following political controversy in France
relating to the take over by a foreign company of a strategic player
in heavy industry, GE's bid was modified; to include joint ventures in
power generation and electrical transmission, and the sale of its own
rail signalling business to Alstom. The GE acquisition deal for the
power and grid division was accepted by EU and US anticompetition
authorities in mid 2015, subject to the sale of Alstom's heavy gas
turbine business. The acquisition was finalised on 2 November 2015,
with GE acquiring Alstom's power generation and electricity
transmission business (combined as GE Power) leaving the Alstom
company operating solely in the rail transport market.
Alstom announced a proposed merger with
Siemens Mobility of
Germany, to be completed in 2018, at which point the company would be
1.1 Alsthom (1928–1989)
1.2 GEC Alsthom (1989–1998)
1.3.1 Acquisition by General Electric
1.3.2 2014 Bribery charges and fines
1.4 November 2015–present
2 Company structure, products, and services
2.1.1 Merger with Siemens
2.2 Former businesses
2.2.1 Power generation
3 Financial information
4 See also
7 External links
Alsthom was founded in 1928 from the merger of French heavy
engineering interests of the
Thomson-Houston Electric Company
Thomson-Houston Electric Company (then
part of General Electric) – the Compagnie française pour
l'exploitation des procédés Thomson Houston (or Compagnie Française
Thomson Houston, CFTH) and Société Alsacienne de Constructions
Mécaniques, with the first factory in Belfort. In 1932, Alsthom
expanded into transportation by acquiring Constructions Electriques de
France, Tarbes, a manufacturer of electric locomotives as well as
electrical and hydraulic equipment.
Compagnie Générale d'Electricité
Compagnie Générale d'Electricité (CGE) became the majority
shareholder of Alsthom. In 1976, Alsthom merged with Chantiers de
l'Atlantique, becoming Alsthom Atlantique. Thus, the business expanded
into marine. The next year, it constructed the first 1300 MW
generator set for the Paluel power station, setting a world record
with an output of 1500 MW.
In 1978, Alsthom delivered its first
TGV to SNCF. The
TGV went on to
break world rail speed records in 1981 (at 380 kilometres per hour
(240 mph)) and in 1990 (at 515.3 kilometres per hour
(320.2 mph)). It also set the world endurance record for
high-speed train lines in 2001, travelling the 1,067.2 kilometres
(663.1 mi) from
Marseille in 3 hours and 29 minutes. In
Belfort received an order from EDF for the largest gas
turbine in the world (212 MW).
In 1988–89, holding company CGEE
Alstom acquired ACEC Energie
(hydroturbines and electrical equipment for the nuclear industry) and
ACEC Automatisme (automation) from the dissolution of Belgian
electrical engineering company ACEC SA.
Alstom acquired 100% of ACEC's
transport division, renaming it ACEC Transport.
GEC Alsthom (1989–1998)
General Electric Company plc
In 1989 GEC Alsthom was formed from a 50–50 merger of the power and
transport activities of
Compagnie Générale d'Electricité
Compagnie Générale d'Electricité (CGE)
Alstom and the Powers System Division of the British
General Electric Company plc, with the intent to allow Alsthom to
export outside France. In May 1989 the rail vehicle manufacturer
Metro-Cammell was acquired.
In 1994 GEC Alsthom acquired the rail vehicle manufacturer
Linke-Hofmann-Busch from Salzgitter AG. In 1995, the company acquired
the remaining shares in the steam turbine manufacturer MAN
Energie. In early 1998, GEC Alsthom acquired the
electrical contractor Cegelec, renaming it
Alstom Power Conversion.
In 1998 GEC-Alsthom bought Italian firm SASIB SpA's rail signalling
subsidiary Sasib Railways, which included the former General
Railway Signal (USA).
In June 1998 GEC Alsthom was listed on the Paris Stock Exchange; GEC
and Alcatel sold off part of their stakes in the capital (23.6% each)
and the company was renamed Alstom.
In 1999 Alstom's energy division merged with ABB in a 50–50 joint
company known as ABB
Alstom also bought Canada's
Télécité, a passenger information and security
solutions company, and sold its heavy-duty gas turbine business to
General Electric. The next year, it bought out ABB's share in
Alstom sold its diesel engine businesses (Ruston, Paxman, and
Mirrlees Blackstone) to MAN Group. It also acquired a 51% stake in
Fiat Ferroviaria, the Italian rail manufacturer and world leader in
tilting technology. In April 2003,
Alstom sold its industrial
turbine business to
Siemens for €1.1 billion.
Alstom was facing a financial crisis due to poor sales and
over $5 billion of debt liabilities, with the potential to force
the liquidation of the company. The crisis was in part due to
$4 billion in costs from a design flaw in the turbines from the
ABB Group acquisition, and from the collapse of customer
Renaissance Cruises, and a downturn in the marine market. Alstom's
share price had dropped 90% over two years. European
competition commission law required
Alstom to sell several of its
subsidiaries, including its shipbuilding and electrical transmission
assets, when it accepted a €3.2 billion rescue plan involving
the French state.
In 2004 the French state took a 21% stake in
Alstom and received an
EU-approved French government bailout worth €2.5 billion.
The company sold its electrical transmission and distribution ("grid")
activities to Areva, the diesel locomotive manufacturer
Vossloh AG, and
Alstom Power Rentals to APR LLC.
Alstom also delivered
the Queen Mary 2, the world's largest ocean liner, to Cunard during
In 2005 the former
Metro-Cammell rail vehicle works in Washwood Heath,
Birmingham were closed.
Alstom sold its Marine Division to the Norwegian group Aker
Yards, with a commitment to retain 25% of the shares until
2010. It also sold
Alstom Power Conversion, which
became Converteam, in a leveraged buy-out deal funded by Barclays
Private Equity France SAS. In June,
Bouygues group acquired the
French government's 21% holding for €2 billion. Later in the
Bouygues increased its shareholding to 24%.
Alstom-Ecotècnia wind turbines in Spain
TGV Est set the world speed record for rail vehicles of 574.8
kilometres per hour (357.2 mph). In March,
Alstom acquired Power
Systems Manufacturing LLC (Florida, USA) a manufacturer of gas turbine
Calpine Corporation for $242 million. In
Alstom acquired the Spanish wind turbine manufacturer
Ecotècnia, renamed as
Alstom Ecotècnia (since 2010
Alstom Wind). The
company also adopted a new graphic chart (logo, corporate identity)
using "alstom" as its trading name, reserving "
Alstom SA" for legal
Alstom acquired 25% of Russia's Transmashholding.
Alstom re-acquired the electric power transmission division of
Areva SA, which had previously been sold in 2004; the
re-acquisition became a new operating division named "Alstom
Grid". The company also opened a wind turbine assembly facility in
Amarillo, Texas; a turbine manufacturing facility in Chattanooga,
Tennessee; and a new hydropower manufacturing facility in
China. Investments underlined Alstom's clean power strategy,
focused on providing a wide range of power generation capabilities,
highly efficient technology and carbon capture and storage technology,
led by (then)
Alstom Power President, Philippe Joubert.
Alstom and the Iraqi government signed a memorandum of
understanding regarding the construction of a new high-speed rail line
Baghdad and Basra.
Alstom opened construction of factories at Sorel-Tracy,
Quebec, Canada (passenger rail vehicles). After a consortium
Alstom Wind), EDF, and
Dong Energy was awarded three major
French offshore wind farm contracts, the company initiated
construction of factories at
Cherbourg (turbine blades in association
with LM Power, also wind turbine towers) and
and generators). Also in 2012 the company forms a joint venture
RusHydro to manufacture hydropower equipment for small and medium
power hydropower plants. (up to about 100MW.)
In November 2013
Alstom announced it planned to raise €1 to
€2 billion through sale of some non-core assets, plus the
possible sale of a stake in
Alstom Transport, and cut 1300
jobs. In 2014,
Alstom sold its steam auxiliary components
activities (air preheaters and gas-gas heaters for thermal power,
other industrial heat transfer equipment, and grinding mills) to
Triton Partners for €730 million.
In November 2014
Alstom was awarded a $429.4 million contract to
modernise 85 trains for the
Mexico City metro system.
Acquisition by General Electric
On 24 April 2014 it was reported that the U.S. conglomerate General
Electric (GE) was in talks to acquire
Alstom for $13 billion, and
claimed the deal had the support of 29%-shareholder Bouygues; as a
result, the company's share price rose 18% in one day. Neither GE nor
Alstom confirmed the report. On 27 April
Le Figaro reported that
an alternative offer of a cash plus asset swap had been made by
Siemens. The bid was reported to involve
Alstom's power business in exchange for part of its rail transport
arm, plus a cash offer as good as GE's and various job
Siemens deal was reported as being promoted by
French economic minister Arnaud Montebourg. However, the Siemens' and
Alstom's companies' product overlap was greater, representing a
greater jobs risk, and had potential issues with European competition
regulators. Siemens' initial offer was characterised as
"defensive" and was met with skepticism from investors and
On 29 April
Reuters reported that the board of
Alstom had accepted a
€10 billion bid from GE for its energy operations; a letter
from GE executive
Jeffrey R. Immelt
Jeffrey R. Immelt to President François Hollande
published in Les Echos Immelt gave assurances about continued
investment in Alstom's French activities, on security relating to
Alstom's involvement in the French civil nuclear sector, and on job
commitments made by
Alstom Wind regarding its new factories, whilst
making Alstom's wind activities available for sale to French
investors. On 30 April,
Alstom confirmed an offer had been
received for its power and grid divisions (representing an equity
value of €12.35 billion, €11.4 billion enterprise value)
and was under review with key interests including the French
state. On 30 April, GE confirmed an offer had been made, with a
value of $16.9 billion, representing a $13.5 billion
enterprise value plus $3.4 billion cash. On 5 May, General
Electric posted an offer to buy one fourth of the shares in Alstom's
Indian power and distribution companies –
Alstom T&D India and
Alstom India – at 261.25 and 382.20 rupees a share (value
US$278 million and $111 million respectively) subject to its
Alstom SA being successful.
On 5 May 2014 the French government stated it did not back GE's bid,
citing concerns on the potential future of Alstom's rail transport
business as a smaller separate entity, suggesting that GE transfer its
own rail division to Alstom; other concerns were retaining national
technological independence in the civil nuclear field, and French
jobs. On 14 May, France issued a decree (Décret n° 2014-479 du
14 mai 2014.[note 1]), nicknamed "décret Alstom", extending to power
of the state to veto the takeover of "strategic interests" into areas
of energy supply, water, transport, telecoms and public
health. Both the French employer organisation MEDEF
(through its president Pierre Gattaz (wiki:fr)) and the European
Commissioner for Internal Market and Services (Michel Barnier)
responded negatively to the decree.
On 16 June
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) submitted a
competing proposal in which
Siemens would acquire Alstom's gas turbine
activities for €3.9 billion and MHI would form joint ventures with
Alstom, acquiring 40, 20 and 20% stakes in Alstom's steam and nuclear,
electrical grid, and hydroelectric businesses respectively, for
€3.1 billion. The proposal included an additional offer to
acquire a further 10% stake from shareholder
Bouygues and the option
to form a joint venture in rail transport. On 19 June, GE
revised its bid, valuing the assets at the same price, but with a
lower cash transaction value. The revised bid proposed to form a 50:50
joint venture combining GE's and Alstom's renewable and electric grid
business, and a 50:50 joint venture in Alstom's steam turbine and
nuclear power business. GE also announced a memorandum of
understanding between the two firms in the rail transport sector,
where GE would sell its rail signalling business to Alstom. On
Siemens and MHI modified their offer, with MHI increasing its
stake in Alstom's steam, hydro, and grid businesses to 40% in all
three (total €3.9 billion), and with
Siemens increasing its
offer by €400 million to €4.3 billion. Subsequently,
Arnaud Montebourg stated he would block both bids,
but stated the French government was now backing the GE offer, and had
given GE additional specifications regarding commitments and
guarantees. It also announced it intended to take two thirds of
Bouygues' shareholding (20%). The
Alstom board met the next day
and backed GE's revised bid. On 22 June, the French state
agreed terms with Bouygues, enabling the purchase of part of their
shareholding in Alstom, taking a 20% stake in
Alstom from Bouygues
before payment, with an agreement to buy the shares at a 2–5%
discount on a value of a minimum of ≈€35 per share.[note
2] Analysts commented
Bouygues would be under pressure to
make a deal with the state in order to gain positive political capital
due to regulation issues the company was facing in the French telecoms
Initially the acquisition deal was expected to be finalised by early
2015. In early 2015 the EU Competition Commission began an
examination process of the deal. Both European Union and United
States competition regulators approved the deal by September 2015,
subject to the divestiture of Alstom's large and very large gas
turbine (GT26 and GT36 models) manufacturing and service business; and
its GE7FA gas turbine aftermarket parts subsidiary business, Power
Systems Mfg. LLC (PSM), to another company, named as Ansaldo of Italy,
(see Ansaldo Energia).
The sale of the company's Energy division to GE was finalised 2
November 2015 – the final valuation being €12.4 billion, of which
€9.7 billion was transferred to Alstom, the remainder being
Alstom in GE/
Alstom joint ventures, plus other
corrections. Following the acquisition the remainder of the Alstom
group refocused entirely on
Rail transport activities, and acquired GE
Signalling. The acquired businesses were to be reorganised together
with GE's existing power generation business (
GE Power & Water) as
GE Power, headquartered in Schenectady, NY, USA.
2014 Bribery charges and fines
In late 2014
Alstom was fined $772 million by the U.S. Justice
Department, and admitted guilt (under the Foreign Corrupt Practices
Act) in relation to bribes paid to obtain contracts in various
In mid 2014
Alstom Network UK was charged by the UK Serious Fraud
Office (SFO) in relation to corruption offences alleged to have been
committed when obtaining transportation contracts in India, Poland and
Tunisia, covered under sections 1 of the Prevention of Corruption Act
1906 and Criminal Law Act 1977. Further charges were brought in
late 2014 by the SFO in relation to corrupt practices used to obtain
energy contracts in Lithuania. Additional charges relating to
contracts for the
Budapest Metro in Hungary were added in April
In November 2015
Alstom was awarded a contract from the Indian
Railways to construct an electric locomotive factory in Madhepura
(Bihar), with an initial order of 800 twin section 9MW locomotives for
use on the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor, value ₹190 billion
(about 2.9 billion USD). The factory was to be a joint venture with
the Ministry of Railways (26%) at a cost of ₹ 13 billion. (about
By late 2015
Alstom had increased its shareholding in Transmashholding
by 8% from 25 to 33% for €54 million.
In September 2015, it was announced that
Amtrak would award
contract for $2.5 billion for the next generation high-speed train
sets for the Northeast Corridor. This would result in the creation of
750 jobs across upstate New York with 400 direct manufacturing jobs at
Alstom. The order for 28 trains was officially confirmed in
August 2016 by Amtrak.
In March 2016 a joint venture of
Gibela began construction
of a new 60,000 square metres (650,000 sq ft) train building
factory in Dunnotar nr. Johannesburg, (South Africa). Initial orders
for the factory included 580
X'Trapolis Mega passenger trains for
PRASA – a €4 billion contract awarded in 2013.
In September 2016
Alstom announced it was to cease locomotive
manufacturing at its
Belfort (France) site by 2018 due to low orders,
with remaining production transferred to
However, in early October 2016 the French state placed an order of
about €650 million for 15
Euroduplex trains; an order for 20
locomotives; plus an order for 30 intercity trains to be built at
Reichshoffen. Together the orders were sufficient to prevent the plant
closing in the short to medium term.
In June 2017
Alstom opened the UK's largest train modernisation
facility in Halebank, on the border of Liverpool.
Company structure, products, and services
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (February
Up to November 2015
Alstom operated in three main business areas:
Power generation, rail transport, and transmission. Following the
sale of the company's power and transmission business to GE the
remainder of the business was entirely focused on rail transport.
Alstom Transport develops and markets a complete range of systems,
equipment and service in the railway industry. The division has
annual sales of €5.5 billion as of 2013. It is one of the
world's largest manufacturers of high-speed trains, tramways and
metros, electrical and diesel trains, information systems, traction
systems, power supply systems and track work. The company also
operates in the rail infrastructure market, designing, producing and
installing infrastructure for the rail network. These includes
information solutions, electrification, communication systems, track
laying, station utilities, as well as workshops and depots.
Maintenance, rebuilding, and renovation services are also provided by
Alstom Transport operates in 70 countries and employs
Notable products includes series production of the
trains with over 650 trainsets sold over 25 years, as well as the AGV
(Automotrice Grande Vitesse) unveiled in February 2008 and which
entered service with NTV in Italy in 2012.
Since a merger with
General Railway Signal
General Railway Signal in 1998,
Alstom has been
manufacturing railway signaling equipment at a former GRS factory
located in a suburb near Rochester, New York.
Alstom has manufactured the
Pendolino tilting train,
following the acquisition of Fiat Ferroviaria.
The company also produces
Citadis trams; as of 2007, over 1100 Citadis
trams are in use by 28 cities including Dublin, Algiers, Barcelona,
Melbourne and Paris.
The company between 2007 and 2010 produced 1,002 R160A New York City
subway cars at its manufacturing plant in Hornell, New York, while the
body shells were built at their Lapa plant, in São Paulo, Brazil.
In September 2015, it was announced in Hornell, NY by Senator Charles
Schumer (D-NY) that
Amtrak will be awarding
Alstom a contract for
$2.45 billion for the next generation high-speed train sets for the
Northeast Corridor. This would result in the creation of 750 jobs
across upstate New York with 400 direct manufacturing jobs at
Alstom. The new train sets will be able to reach speeds up
to 186 mph and feature active tilting technology. The 28 new
train sets are scheduled to enter service by 2021.
Merger with Siemens
On 26 September 2017,
Alstom announced a proposal to merge with
Siemens Mobility, the rolling stock business of German conglomerate
Siemens AG, with the objective of creating "a new European champion in
the rail industry". The combined rail business, to be named
Alstom and headquarters in Paris, would have $18 billion U.S.
in revenue and employ 62,300 people in more than 60 countries.
Seen as a measure to counter the rise of China's
CRRC with support
from both the French and German governments, the transaction, due to
close by the end of 2018, has seen opposition by locals due to
possible job cuts resulting from the merger.
Alstom power activities were collectively called
Alstom Power Systems
and included the design, manufacturing, services and supply of
products and systems for the power generation sector and industrial
markets. The group covered most energy sources, including gas, coal,
nuclear, hydro, wind. Power Systems provided components for power
generation including: boilers, steam turbines and gas turbines, wind
turbines, generators, air quality control systems and monitoring and
control systems for power plants, as well as related products. It had
a special focus on boilers and emissions control equipment.
Power Systems also provided services such as product retrofitting for
nuclear and fossil steam turbines and refurbishment of existing power
plants. It performed maintenance and servicing under long-term
agreements for its own turbines, as well as those manufactured by GE
and Siemens. In Russia, the company serviced nuclear equipment under a
join agreement with Atomenergomash. In Brazil, Alstom, together with
Bardella, ran a joint venture called Indústria Metalúrgica e
Mecânica da Amazônia to build hydroelectic power plants throughout
the Amazon and Latin American regions. In India,
Alstom had a joint
Bharat Forge to manage power production from start to
In 2015 the entire power sector was taken over by General Electric.
A third business section based on power transmission was formed on 7
June 2010 with the acquisition of the transmission business of Areva
SA. The division manufactures equipment for the entire chain of
electrical power transmission, including ultra-high voltage
transmission lines (both AC and DC).
Alstom Grid is headquartered at
La Défense, the business district west of Paris, and has four main
businesses: electrical transmission system products, power electric
system, automation, and service.
Alstom Grid has roughly 10% of
the global market share.
Alstom was listed on the London, New York and Paris Stock Exchanges
when it was floated on 22 June 1998. Following the financial
reconstruction in 2003, the company remained listed on the Paris Stock
Exchange, but was delisted from the
London Stock Exchange
London Stock Exchange on 17
November 2003 and the
New York Stock Exchange
New York Stock Exchange in August
According to a shareholding study carried out in Feb 2016 the
company's shareholding was :
Institutional investors: 62%
Individual shareholders: 8%
List of French companies
List of locomotive builders
List of tram builders
^ The decree was an amendment to the Code monétaire et financier
(French), extending powers given by Decree No. 2005-1739 (30 December
2005); the Décret n° 2014-479 du 14 mai 2014 relatif aux
investissements étrangers. was nicknamed the "décret Alstom", or
the "décret Montebourg".
Arnaud Montebourg was quoted as stating
the decree protected France's strategic interests, and was the end of
laissez-faire economic policy.
^ The 20% shareholding gave the state two seats on the board. The
share purchase deal was for 20 months, after which the state was
entitled to a 15% share at a similar markdown on the actual market
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