German industrial group Siemens is likely to decide on Tuesday to pursue a multibillion-dollar rail merger with French rival Alstom rather than Canada's Bombardier, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
The three major train and rail technology groups active in Europe have been looking at combining their businesses as larger Chinese state-backed rival CRRC embarks on a global expansion drive.
"I think Alstom will make it," one of the people said on Monday. The second person said Siemens' supervisory board would decide the matter on Tuesday, also describing Alstom as the front-runner.
Siemens, Alstom and Bombardier declined to comment.
Siemens and Alstom are strong in high-speed intercity trains with their ICE and TGV models. Siemens is also the leader in signalling technology, while Bombardier - whose transportation headquarters are in Berlin - is stronger in commuter and light-rail trains.
The Franco-German deal would come just as plans by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron for closer integration may be undermined by Merkel's weak showing in Sunday's national election.
It would also represent a reconciliation of sorts between Siemens and Alstom, which snubbed the German company in 2014 to sell its energy division to General Electric in a deal that also saw Paris take a 20 percent stake in
Alstom, under a temporary agreement with construction group Bouygues.
Siemens Mobility is expected to be merged into Alstom, in which Siemens would hold 50 percent plus one share, while the chief executive would be Alstom's current boss Henri-Poupart Lafarge.