Hitachi Rail is hoping to finally receive clearance for its merger with Thales GTS after refiling a notification with the European Commission.
The rail manufacturer’s €1.66bn ($1.78bn) acquisition of Thales’ Ground Transportation Systems unit was first announced in 2021 but has faced a number of concerns regarding its effect on the signalling market in Europe, leading Hitachi to withdraw its original filing and refile with a proposal to divest some of its signalling business.
A spokesperson for Hitachi said: “We are delighted to be in a position to refile for clearance in the EU after working extensively with the Commission on a proposed divestment package that we are satisfied will address their concerns.
“We look forward to continuing to progress the acquisition of Thales’s Ground Transportation Systems, which we believe will deliver value for customers in the rail signalling and mobility sectors in Europe and globally.”
Since the initial merger proposal in August 2021, Hitachi says it has secured the regulatory merger clearances needed in 11 of the 13 required jurisdictions and worked with the EU on its new deal.
One of the holdouts that Hitachi is hoping to receive approval from soon is the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which has previously said that it thought the merger could reduce the options in the digital signalling market in the country, especially as Network Rail and Transport for London work on a number of large digital signalling projects.
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However, in August of this year, the CMA said that further evidence from a consultation following its provisional findings concluded that the merger would not substantially lessen competition in the UK Communications Based Train Control signalling systems market but maintained its opinion about the digital market.
The final report by the CMA is expected on October 6, 2023.