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, and Citadis trams.
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 (UK) formed GEC Alsthom in 1989; the company became Alstom in 1998.
In 2004, 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.
In 2014, Alstom and 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.
In 2017, Alstom announced a proposed merger with Siemens Mobility of Germany, to be completed in 2018, at which point the company would be called Siemens Alstom. The European Commission has expressed its concern about the two companies being too dominant in Europe after their merger, and there have been popular protests concerning international-financial reforms to French territorial railway infrastructure and SNCF. Objections to the merger include possible increases in passenger fares and cargo fees.