Hitachi Rail has completed its acquisition of Thales’s Ground Transportation Systems (GTS) arm for $1.66bn, following a lengthy regulatory sign-off process. The pan-European deal was approved by both the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and the European Commission’s competition department in October 2023. 

After months of finalisation, the deal was signed off on 31 May, and will expand the Japanese multi-sector firm’s rail signalling business to reach 51 countries. 

Because GTS has deep market penetration in France, Germany and Spain, one of the conditions put on the Hitachi acquisition was its offloading of its own existing signalling business in major EU markets and the UK. This was completed in January when German, UK and French Hitachi units were sold to Italian rail firm Mer Mec. This sale directly paved the way for the GTS sale final approvals. 

The deal will bring 9,000 GTS staff onboard at Hitachi Rail, meaning the firm’s global headcount will now reach 24,000. 

“Completing this transaction is a historic moment for our business, as we expand to 51 countries and increase our revenues to $7.9bn globally. 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,” said Hitachi Rail CEO Giuseppe Marino. 

“With Thales’ Ground Transportation Systems team on board, 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,” he added. 

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Hitachi’s president and overall CEO Keiji Kojima explained the acquisition is intended to aid the firm’s digital provision.

“By welcoming new Hitachi Rail colleagues, Hitachi’s Railway systems business has strengthened its presence in the global market. Hitachi will enhance its digital services by leveraging IT, OT, and products on an expanded installed base in the mobility arena, and solve global social challenges through co-creation with customers. Through this acquisition and Hitachi’s overall growth, we will continue to support our customers’ digital and green transformations and contribute to the realisation of a sustainable society,” Kojima said.