Europe: Brown & Root Services has signed a memorandum of understanding with Holland Railconsult BV, to pursue jointly rail projects in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region and share technical knowledge and resources.

Germany: Siemens AG has reported that all groups moved into profit in the first quarter of its 1999-2000 financial year, including Transportation Systems where restructuring contributed to earnings before interest and taxes of 26m euros in the period from October 1 to December 31, against a loss of 10m euros recorded in the first quarter of 1998-99. New orders were up from 500m to 581m euros, and sales from 639m to 750m euros.

Great Britain: MAN B&W Diesel AG of Germany was due to take over Alstom Engines Ltd with effect from March 31, including the company’s Ruston, Paxman and Mirrlees Blackstone brands. Subject to approval from regulatory authorities and the MAN board, the transaction is expected to be completed in May.

BICC plc has agreed to sell cable supplier Brand-Rex Ltd to Caradon plc for £145 m. The group is also to change its name to Balfour Beatty plc, comprising four divisions active in the fields of rail construction and maintenance, construction, civil engineering and project finance.

QSS Group and Sinclair Knight Merz are to collaborate on projects worldwide, jointly offering a range of services including business analysis, project management, operational performance improvement and safety assurance.

McLeod Russel Holdings plc has acquired the Vokes air and liquid filtration business, which is to trade as a division of Interfilta (UK) Ltd. Vokes Filtration will continue to run its liquids business from Guildford, but air filtration activities will be integrated with Interfilta’s Burnley operation.

Hungary: Transelektro is reported to have signed a letter of intent to purchase Ganz-Ansaldo from Finmeccanica SpA of Italy.

Italy: Ansaldo Trasporti SpA has made an offer worth US$15·1m for the remaining 18·3% of the common shares in Ansaldo Signal NV that it does not own. Once the transaction is completed, Ansaldo Signal would no longer be listed on NASDAQ.

Romania: After its first attempt (RG 3.99 p142) failed to attract any bids, the State Ownership Fund was to offer its 76·7% stake in Astra Vagoane Arad for auction on March 7. The reserve price was to be cut from 4250 to 2125lei per share.

USA: The board of ABC-NACO Inc has approved the issue of 300000 shares of cumulative convertible preferred stock to private equity funds managed by ING Furman Selz Investments. The issue is expected to raise US$30m.

Cubic Transportation Systems has signed a licensing and co-operation agreement with On Track Innovations Ltd of Israel, and is to offer OTI’s EYECON contactless smartcards with its recently-developed Tri-Reader (RG 2.00 p86).