Australia: ERG Ltd, Telstra and ANZ Banking Group are to form the ECard Pty Ltd joint venture to develop a smart card solution suitable for application across Australia. ERG has also taken a 10% share in card.tec AG, a smart card operating company created by Deutsche Telekom subsidiary DeTeCard Service GmbH.

Czech Republic: CKD Vagonka, holding company CKD Praha and Fiat Ferroviaria have signed a co-operation agreement.

France: Road construction company Colas has signed a letter of intent to acquire the rail activities of Desquenne et Giral, which would include its SECO/DGC track maintenance subsidiary, by November.

Société Industrielle du Hanau, owned by ABN AMRO Capital Investissement France, has launched a takeover bid for De Dietrich, valued at 451·2m euros. De Dietrich is sole shareholder in track and signalling supplier Cogifer SA and construction and maintenance arm Cogifer TF.

Romania: Vagon Leasing, the joint venture between rail assets management company SAAF and Greenbrier, has secured contracts to lease 2500 wagons to Turkey. A second joint venture with Touax Group of France is to lease 200 refurbished wagons to customers in Belgium.

The State Ownership Fund has accepted a bid of 27·7bn lei from employees for a 69·9% stake in the Remarul 16 Februaire rolling stock repair workshops in Cluj-Napoca. The business made a profit of 17bn lei on a turnover of 176bn lei last year.

Switzerland: Sulzer has sold its steam locomotive manufacturing business forming part of its Winpro subsidiary to Hug Engineering of Weisslingen.

Turkmenistan: Turkmendemiryollary has begun work on a second sleeper factory, equipped by Strommachina of Belarus for a production capacity of 240000 a year.

USA: General Electric has agreed to acquire signalling supplier Harmon Industries in a transaction worth US$425m. Upon completion, Harmon will become part of GE Harris Railway Electronics.

TransCore Inc has completed its acquisition of Amtech Systems from Intermec Technologies Corp. The combined companies will now use the TransCore name.