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Alstom is all about speed and power. Alstom's Power segment is a world leader, providing boilers, turbines, air quality systems, generators, and controls for coal, gas, hydroelectric, and nuclear power generation. Turnkey power plant and wind farm setups are available, as well as emission reduction systems. Alstom claims it has equipped 25% of the world's – more... operating power plants. Its Transport business is a world-leading manufacturer of all things railroad-related, from commuter trains and locomotives to signaling equipment to rail infrastructure. It also makes high-speed trains and provides complete turnkey railroad setup. Alstom's Grid segment mainly addresses the growing smart-grid market in the utility sector.

After seeing its revenue decrease in 2009 and 2010, Alstom enjoyed a 6% increase in its fiscal 2011 sales. Orders were also up in 2011 by 28%. Net income, however, was down 62% in 2011 over 2010.

Alstom operates in about 100 countries, but the company has been reshifting its focus from the developed world to newly developing markets. Orders from clients in emerging countries grew from 35% of the global total in fiscal 2010 to 60% in fiscal 2011.  Orders in the Brazil-Russia-India-China sector increased from 10% of the global total in fiscal 2010 to 25% in 2011. Alstom is building its BRIC operations by striking partnerships and joint-venture deals with several companies in those areas. Among them is a 50-50 venture with Shanghai Electric to make boilers. Meanwhile Alstom is correspondingly downsizing operations in Europe and North America, where the company did experience some growth in 2011, but not as strong as that in emerging markets.

Alstom is also concentrating its R&D efforts on such promising technologies as turbine upgrades, carbon capture and storage programs, and tidal, thermal, and solar power in its Power segment; train control systems and VHS (very-high speed) in the Transport segment; and super grids, as well as smart grids, in its Grid operations. Alstom is anticipating strong growth in its new equipment, service, railway, and transmission businesses.

Alstom had shed some business to focus on its Power and Transport segments, but it has now added another major category to its operations, Grid, a business it has developed with the acquisition of Utility Integration Solutions and a partnership with Microsoft in the US and the acquisition of Psymetrix, a smart grid services company in the UK.

Buoyed by strong orders in renewable energy technology, Alstom has entered into an agreement with EDF Energies Nouvelles to develop offshore wind power. It also made an investment in BrightSource Energy, a solar company. – less

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