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Hitachi Acquires Finmeccanica’s Rail & Signaling Businesses

In February of 2015, Hitachi Ltd. announced that it will acquire the railway division of Finmeccanica, a partially state-controlled Italian industrial group. Finmeccanica has been running their rail businesses - AnsaldoBreda and Ansaldo STS - at a loss. In an effort to streamline their businesses and focus solely on defense and aerospace, Finmeccanica has been seeking a buyer for these companies for approximately 4 years.

The deal, worth approximately $2.15 billion (USD), will relieve the Italian company of about 600 million euros (15% of the company’s debt) while boosting Hitachi’s market presence in European railways. The Japanese company already has extensive experience in the railway industry, being responsible for developing Japan’s first bullet train. Seeking opportunity in the European railway market, Hitachi has already opened facilities for its railway division to London in 2014. Other competitors in this market include Canada’s Bombardier, Germany’s Siemens, and France’s Alstom. The deal is expected to finalize in September of 2015, pending regulatory approvals and notwithstanding any counteroffers. However, analysts think that a bid from Chinese company CNR Corporation is not yet out of the question.

Established in 1910 and currently headquartered in Tokyo, Hitachi Ltd. is a highly diversified conglomerate with a broad range of activities. The company operates under eleven primary business groups: information & telecommunication systems, social infrastructure, high functional materials & components, financial services, power systems, electronic systems & equipment, automotive systems, railway & urban systems, digital media & consumer products, construction machinery, and other components & systems. The Ansaldo businesses are descended from Gio. Ansaldo & C., an Italian legacy company first founded in 1853. In 1993, the company was absorbed in full by Finmeccanica and the company split into a number of specialized offshoots. Founded in 1948, Finmeccanica is owned in part by the Italian government (which holds 30% of the company’s shares) and currently operates under six main divisions: helicopters, defence & security electronics, aeronautics, space, defence systems, and transportation.

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