Engineering firm Alstom is being sued for £1m by the DTI in a row over payments dating back more than 10 years ago.

The department has accused Alstom UK and its sister company Alstom Automation International of failing to pay £1,150,000 to Midland Bank, which has since become HSBC.

This was allegedly in breach of a premium agreement dated 14 October 1994. The DTI has issued a claim for £1,150,000 and interest.

Further details of the agreement and the writ, which was issued at the Technology and Construction Court, were not available.

In 2003 Alstom, which builds trains, power stations and ships as well as associated infrastructure, faced a claim for £83m from entrepreneur Richard Branson over the late delivery of a fleet of high-speed Pendolino tilting trains.

The French firm has recently teamed up with Amec to win a number of nuclear clean-up contracts in Wales and Northern Ireland.