Alstom is to speed up the execution of it planned cost saving plan in order to maintain its financial performance in the challenging macro-economic conditions.

The French industrial giant says that slow economic recovery in mature markets and reduced levels of economic growth in emerging economies means that demand for its products this year has been weaker than anticipated.

Alstom says it will accelerate and enhance its "dedicated to excellence" performance plan by ramping up savings of €1.5 billion by 2016 compared with its 2012/13 cost base, and by considering the sale of a minority stake in Alstom Transport.

"In markets that remain contrasted, our commercial activity in the first half was supported by a good flow of small and medium-sized orders, but lacked large contracts, notably in thermal power," said Patrick Kron, Chairman and CEO of Alstom at the release of the company’s first half results.

Kron said that in the power generation sector, steam product demand is stable thanks to opportunities in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Asia, but that gas recovery has been slow in mature markets. The company added in a statement that the hydro market had improved compared to last year but that onshore wind "remains under significant price pressure".

In the first half of 2013, thermal power registered €2.7 billion of orders, although orders for new power plants was "limited". Renewable power orders rebounded, largely thanks to the hydropower sector, said Alstom.