Digital Communications and Control Centre

Hitachi says the acquisition means it will have a greater focus on signalling and digital services in its portfolio in the years ahead.

INTERNATIONAL: Hitachi Rail announced after trading closed on May 31 that it had completed the acquisition of Thales’ Ground Transportation Systems business for €1·66bn.

Hitachi said the deal would expand its global presence in the rail sector to 51 countries, with 60% of its revenues now coming from higher-return signalling, train control and digital systems activities. The combined business will have revenues of €7·3bn at FY2023 prices. The transaction also gives Hitachi greater access to specialist experience in digital operations, cybersecurity technology and ticketing.

A Hitachi Class 802 trainset for the UK emerging from Hitachi works in southern Japan.

Hitachi Rail already has an extensive rolling stock production business, with factories in Japan, the UK and Italy.

As part of the antitrust conditions of the takeover, Hitachi is required to divest main line signalling business units in France, Germany and the UK. In January it signed a put option with MerMec setting out conditions for sale of these divisions to the Italian group.

Moving forward, the business will operate under the Hitachi Rail brand. According to Hitachi, the former Thales business unit has key bases in Germany, France, Spain and Canada, which will be strategically complementary to Hitachi Rail’s activities focused on Italy, the USA and the UK.

The closing sees 9 000 staff transferred, taking Hitachi Rail to 24 000 employees worldwide. The company is taking on GTS’s five Digital Hubs & Competence Centres in Toronto, Berlin, Manchester, Singapore and Paris, which will form part of Hitachi Rail’s global Agile Innovation team.

Giuseppe Marino Hitachi Rail CEO headshot 2

Giuseppe Marino, Group CEO of Hitachi Rail, said that ‘completing this transaction is a historic moment for our business. Hitachi Rail’s greater global reach and accelerated innovation is the start of an exciting new chapter that will deliver enhanced value and growth in new markets.

‘With Thales’ Ground Transportation Systems team onboard, we can better deliver the sustainable mobility transition for the world’s best transport companies. Bringing our teams together sees our engineering capacity nearly double and means faster innovation and more advanced technology-led solutions for our customers.’ 

Read an exclusive interview with Giuseppe Marino when he started as Hitachi Rail CEO in June 2023.