Alstom SA 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, Eurostar and Pendolino high-speed trains, in addition to suburban, regional and metro trains, as well as Citadis trams.
|Alsthom, GEC Alsthom|
|Traded as||Euronext: ALO|
CAC Next 20 Component
|Henri Poupart-Lafarge (Chairman and CEO)|
|Products||Railway vehicles and signalling|
|Revenue||€8.072 billion (2018-19)|
|€730 million (2018-19)|
|€693 million (2018-19)|
|Total assets||€13.410 billion (2018-19)|
|Total equity||€4.159 billion (2018-19)|
Number of employees
Alsthom (originally as Als-Thom) was formed from a merger between Thomson-Houston Electric Company and the electric engineering division of 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 (Belgium, late 1980s).
A merger with parts of the General Electric Company (UK) formed GEC Alsthom in 1989. Throughout the 1990s, the company expanded its holdings in the rail sector via the acquisition of German rolling stock manufacturer Linke-Hofmann-Busch and Italian rail signalling specialist Sasib Railways. In 1998, GEC Alsthom was floated on the Paris Stock Exchange; later that year, it was rebranded as Alstom.
In 2004, Alstom was in financial crisis, largely 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 business sectors. The company required a €3.2 billion state-backed bailout from the French government in 2003; as a result, Alstom was compelled to dispose of several of its divisions, including shipbuilding and electrical transmission to Nikhanj Power, in order to comply with European Union rules on state aid. It was able to later re-acquire its electric transmission division in 2010. The firm also became heavily involved in offshore wind farms via its subsidiary company Alstom Wind.
In 2014, Alstom and General Electric (GE) announced that a US$17 billion (€12.4 billion) bid for Alstom's power and grid divisions had been made and provisionally accepted. Amid controversy in France over the proposed takeover of strategic domestic interest by a foreign company, GE's bid was modified to include joint ventures in power generation and transmission, as well as GE's rail signalling business being sold to Alstom. The acquisition of the power and grid division by GE was accepted by EU and US competition authorities in 2015, subject to Alstom's heavy gas turbine business being sold. The sale of Alstom's power generation and transmission businesses to GE was finalised on 2 November 2015, after which the Alstom Group has operated solely in the rail sector.
In late 2017, Alstom announced a proposed merger with Siemens Mobility of Germany, however, in February 2019, the European Commission prohibited the merger. Subsequently, in February 2020 the company signed a Letter of Agreement to purchase Bombardier Transportation.
Alsthom was founded in 1928 from the merger of French heavy engineering interests of the 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.
In 1969, 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 Nuclear Power Plant, 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 Calais to Marseille in 3 hours and 29 minutes. In 1986, Alsthom Belfort received an order from EDF for the largest gas turbine in the world (212 MW).
In 1988–89, holding company CGEE Alsthom acquired ACEC Energie (hydroturbines and electrical equipment for the nuclear industry) and ACEC Automatisme (automation) from the dissolution of Belgian electrical engineering company ACEC. Alsthom acquired 100% of ACEC's transport division, renaming it ACEC Transport.
GEC Alsthom (1989–1998)Edit
In early 1989, GEC Alsthom was formed from a 50–50 merger of Alsthom and the Power Systems Division of the British General Electric Company; for Alsthom this move was intended to allow Alsthom to more successfully sell its products to export customers outside the French market. In May of that year, British rail vehicle manufacturer Metro-Cammell was acquired.
During the early 1990s, GEC Alsthom was the principal manufacturer of the British Rail Class 373, a variant of their TGV family specially designed for traversing the Channel Tunnel between the UK and France. Although collectively operated by Eurostar, the type was ordered by three different railway companies: 16 by SNCF, four by NMBS/SNCB, and 18 by British Rail, of which seven were shortened North of London sets. The first Class 373 set was completed at GEC Alstom's Belfort facility during 1992.
In 1994, GEC Alsthom acquired a 51% shareholding in 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 June 1998, GEC Alsthom was listed on the Paris Stock Exchange; both GEC and Alcatel elected to sell off part of their stakes (23.6% each). Around this time, the company was officially renamed Alstom. Retained by Alstom, the former Metro-Cammell works in Washwood Heath were closed in 2005.
In 1999, Alstom bought half of ABB's power systems division, forming a 50-50 joint company known as ABB Alstom Power. 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 ABB Alstom Power.
In 2000, Alstom sold its diesel engine businesses (Ruston, Paxman, and Mirrlees Blackstone) to MAN Group. It also acquired a 51% stake in Italian rail manufacturer Fiat Ferroviaria, a world leader in tilting technology. In April 2003, Alstom sold its industrial turbine business to Siemens for €1.1 billion.
By 2003, Alstom was facing a financial crisis caused by a mix of poor sales and over $5 billion of debt liabilities; it reportedly had the potential to force the company's liquidation. These heavy debts were largely due to a $4 billion charge over a design flaw in a turbine developed by ABB Group, acquired by Alstom in 2000, as well as the collapse of customer Renaissance Cruises amid a general downturn in the marine market. Alstom's share price had dropped by 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 for €772 million and Alstom received an EU-approved bailout worth in total €2.5 billion. The company sold its electrical transmission and distribution ("grid") activities to Areva, the diesel locomotive manufacturer Meinfesa to Vossloh, and Alstom Power Rentals to APR LLC. That same year, Alstom delivered the four Mermaid propulsion units, each capable of providing up to 21.5 MW of power, to shipping company Cunard to power Queen Mary 2, the world's largest ocean liner.
In 2006, 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 2006, Bouygues acquired the French government's 21% holding in Alstom for €2 billion. Later that same year, Bouygues elected to increase its shareholding in the firm to 24%.
In 2007, the TGV POS 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 components from Calpine Corporation for $242 million. In June, 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 documents.
In 2010 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.
In 2012 Alstom opened construction of factories at Sorel-Tracy, Quebec, Canada (passenger rail vehicles). After a consortium of Alstom (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 Saint-Nazaire (Nacelles and generators). Also in 2012 the company forms a joint venture with 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 1,300 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 late 2014 Alstom was fined $772 million by the United States Department of Justice, and admitted guilt (under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act) in relation to bribes paid to obtain contracts in various countries.
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 2015.
Acquisition by General ElectricEdit
On 24 April 2014, unconfirmed reports claimed that US conglomerate General Electric (GE) was in acquisition talks with Alstom for $13 billion with the support of 29%-shareholder Bouygues, causing Alstom's share price to rise 18% in one day. On 27 April, Le Figaro reported that a rival 'cash plus asset swap' offer was issued by Siemens, trading Alstom's power business for part of its rail arm, plus a cash offer as good as GE's and job guarantees. Siemens' bid was reportedly promoted by French economic minister Arnaud Montebourg. Siemens and Alstom had a greater product overlap and thus a greater risk to jobs, along with potential issues with EU competition regulators. Siemens' offer was characterised as "defensive", being skeptically received by investors and analysts.
On 29 April, Reuters reported that Alstom's board had accepted a €10 billion bid by GE for its energy division; In a letter from GE executive Jeffrey R. Immelt to President François Hollande published in Les Echos, Immelt gave assurances about continued investment in Alstom's French activities, the security of the civil nuclear sector, and on job commitments made by Alstom Wind, whilst making its wind activities available to investors. On 30 April, Alstom confirmed that an offer for its power and grid divisions (representing an equity value of €12.35 billion, €11.4 billion enterprise value) was under review with key interests including the French state. On 30 April, GE confirmed it had made an $16.9 billion offer, comprising a $13.5 billion value plus $3.4 billion cash. On 5 May, GE offered 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 bid for Alstom SA being successful.
On 5 May 2014, the French government stated it did not back GE's bid, citing concerns on the future of Alstom's rail division as a smaller separate entity, suggesting that GE transfer its own rail division to Alstom; other concerns were over the civil nuclear field's national independence, 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 and the European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services (Michel Barnier) responded negatively to the decree.
On 16 June Siemens and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) submitted a competing offer for Siemens to acquire Alstom's gas turbine activities for €3.9 billion while 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 offer to buy a further 10% stake from shareholder Bouygues and an option to form a rail transport joint venture. On 19 June, GE revised its bid, matching the same price with a lower cash transaction value; it also proposed forming a joint venture of their renewable, electric grid, steam turbine and nuclear power businesses. GE announced a memorandum of understanding between the two firms in the rail sector and the sale of GE's rail signalling unit to Alstom. On 20 June, Siemens and MHI modified their bid, with MHI increasing its stake in Alstom's steam, hydro, and grid businesses to 40% in all three (total €3.9 billion) while Siemens increased its offer by €400 million to €4.3 billion. Subsequently, Economy minister Arnaud Montebourg stated he would block both bids, but the French government backed GE's offer and had given GE more specifications on commitments and guarantees; it also intended to buy two-thirds of Bouygues' shareholding (20%). The next day, Alstom's board backed GE's revised bid. On 22 June, the French state agreed terms with Bouygues, buying a 20% stake in Alstom from Bouygues at a 2–5% discount on a minimum value of ≈€35 per share.[note 2]
Initially the acquisition was expected to be finalised by early 2015. In early 2015, the EU Competition Commission began examining the deal. Both EU and US 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, Ansaldo Energia.
The sale of Alstrom's energy division to GE was finalised on 2 November 2015; the final valuation being €12.4 billion, of which €9.7 billion was transferred to Alstom, the remainder being reinvested in GE/Alstom joint ventures plus other corrections. The acquired businesses were reorganised within GE's existing power generation business (GE Power & Water) as GE Power. The remainder of Alstom Group, including GE Signalling (acquired via a €700 million deal), refocused on rail transport. Due to the acquisition, GE accrued $17.3bn of goodwill, consisting of Alstom's negative book value of $7.2bn at the time of acquisition and the $10.1bn purchase price. In October 2018, GE wrote-off $23bn from the value of its power industry division, largely attributed to the Alstom purchase.
In November 2015, Alstom was awarded a contract by the Indian Railways to construct an electric locomotive factory in Madhepura (Bihar), receiving an initial order of 800 twin-section 9MW locomotives for use on the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor, valued at ₹190 billion (about US$2.9 billion). This factory was to be operated under a joint venture with the Ministry of Railways (26%) at a cost of ₹ 13 billion (roughly US$200 million).
During 2015, Alstom decided to increase its shareholding in Russian locomotive manufacturer Transmashholding, its stake rising from 25% to 33%, at a reported cost of €54 million. It has originally acquired its 25% stake in Transmashholding during early 2010. As a consequence of an alignment agreement between Transmashholding and another entity, LocoTech-Service, Alstom's stake in the former decreased to 20% in August 2018.
In September 2015, it was announced that Amtrak would award Alstom a 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. These trainsets are manufactured at Alstom's plant in Hornell, New York.
In March 2016, a joint venture of Alstom and Gibela began construction of a new 60,000 square metres (650,000 sq ft) train building factory in Dunnotar, outside of Johannesburg, South Africa. Initial orders for the factory included 580 X'Trapolis Mega passenger trains for Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa under a €4 billion contract that was 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; remaining production activity was to be transferred to its facility in Reichshoffen, Alsace. However, during October 2016, the French state placed an order of about €650 million for 15 TGV Euroduplex trains; an order for 20 locomotives; plus an order for 30 intercity trains to be built at Reichshoffen. Together, these orders were sufficient to prevent the Belfort plant's closure in the short to medium term.
In December 2018, three executives of Alstom were found guilty of conspiracy to corrupt following an investigation by the Serious Fraud Office into allegations of several Lithuanian politicians and officials being offered bribes in return for securing contracts.
Attempted merger with Siemens MobilityEdit
On 26 September 2017, Alstom announced a proposal to merge with Siemens Mobility, the rolling stock division of German conglomerate Siemens; this merger was promoted as the creation of "a new European champion in the rail industry". The combined rail business, which was to have been reportedly named Siemens Alstom and headquartered in Paris, would have $18 billion U.S. in revenue and employ 62,300 people in more than 60 countries. During November 2018, the European Commission voiced its concerns surrounding the proposed merger of the two companies, particularly that the combined entity would be too dominant in the European market; alleged impacts from such dominance included potential increases in passenger fares and cargo fees. Furthermore, a series of popular protests concerning the financial reforms of both the French territorial railway infrastructure and SNCF occurred.
The proposed merger was viewed by some[according to whom?] as a measure to counter the rise of rival Chinese rail business CRRC; it reportedly received support from many figures within both the French and German governments. However, the transaction, which was originally due to close by the end of 2018, was met with opposition by French trade union officials who voiced their concerns that such a merger would have the potential for job losses. On 17 July 2018, Alstom shareholders overwhelmingly approved the proposed merger with Siemens. However, on 6 February 2019, the planned merger between the two companies was vetoed by the European Commission. In response to this ruling, Alstom's Chief Executive Officer Henri Poupart-Lafarge stating that he viewed the decision to block the merger to have been a result of "ideological prejudices".
Planned acquisition of Bombardier TransportationEdit
In mid-February 2020, Alstom announced that it had signed a Memorandum of Agreement to buy Bombardier Transportation, the multinational train maker headquartered in Quebec, Canada, for between €5.8 billion and €6.2 billion. The deal required approval by Alstom shareholders at a meeting to be held in October 2020 and approval by European regulators. Bombardier's major shareholder, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, had already agreed to the sale. In July 2020, it was announced that the EU competition authorities have approved of the purchase-deal. In order to finish the deal, Alstom will need to sell a factory based in France, a regional train division, a Bombardier facility in Germany, and a Bombardier trains division. Apart of that, the company will also need to carry out different guarantees and pass on some of the Bombardier's assets.
Company structure, products, and servicesEdit
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (February 2018)
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 include information solutions, electrification, communication systems, track laying, station utilities, as well as workshops and depots. Maintenance, rebuilding, and renovation services are also provided by the company. Alstom Transport operates in 70 countries and employs 26,000 people.
Notable products includes series production of the TGV high-speed trains with over 650 trainsets sold over 25 years, as well as the London Underground 1995 Stock, London Underground 1996 Stock, British Rail Class 390 and AGV.
Since a merger with 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. After the merger with GE signaling the manufacturing was transferred to Missouri, and GRS factory kept engineering the GRS legacy products.
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 2013, Alstom was awarded the contract to supply 168 coaches to Chennai Metro at a cost of ₹1,470 crore (US$210 million).  The company also owns the tender for supplying coaches to Kochi Metro, one of the most modern metro system in India. 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 trainsets 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.
List of rolling stock manufactured by Alstom:
- Alstom Coradia
- Bay Area Rapid Transit C1 Series
- British Rail Class 175
- British Rail Class 180
- British Rail Class 390
- New Pendolino
- TGV trains:
- X3 (train)
- SL X60
- SJ X40
- X61 (railcar)
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 hydroelectric power plants throughout the Amazon and Latin American regions. In India, Alstom had a joint venture with Bharat Forge to manage power production from start to finish.
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 on 17 November 2003 and the New York Stock Exchange in August 2004.
According to a shareholding study carried out in March 2018 the company's shareholding was:
- Institutional investors: 65%
- Bouygues: 28%
- Individual shareholders: 6%
- Employees: 1%
- 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 stated that 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 price.
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