Hitachi Rail has refiled its merger notification with the European Commission restarting the merger clearance process for the acquisition of Thales GTS – Thales’ Ground Transportation Systems – in the European Union. The Japanese company proposed to divest its assets in France and Germany to satisfy European Commission’s concerns.
Hitachi Rail’s planned acquisition of Thales Ground Transportation Systems (GTS) business was announced in August 2021. Since that time, Hitachi Rail and Thales have been progressing towards completing the EUR 1.66 billion deal, securing the regulatory approvals necessary for the transaction to proceed, including achieving merger clearances in 11 of the 13 required jurisdictions.
In November 2022, Hitachi Rail withdrew its EU filing after the Commission raised concerns over the potential impact of the merger on competition for mainline signalling projects in France and Germany.
“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 which we are satisfied will address their concerns. We look forward to continuing to progress the acquisition of Thales’s Ground Transportation Systems (GTS), which we believe will deliver value for customers in the rail signalling and mobility sectors in Europe and globally,” a Hitachi Rail spokesperson said.
Hitachi Rail also expects to receive a decision on the proposed transaction from the UK anti – trust authority, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) shortly.
On September 18, Thales announced that together with Hitachi Rail have made significant progress towards the completion of the sale of Thales GTS business to Hitachi Rail. “The two groups have obtained most of the regulatory approvals required to complete the transaction. Over the last months, the parties have had constructive informal discussions with the Directorate-General for Competition of the European Commission about the proposed transaction,” Thales says.
The two companies expect that the transaction will have a positive impact on competition and will benefit rail signalling and mobility customers in Europe and globally. The two groups are continuing their discussions with the relevant authorities and are committed to finalising this transaction in the first half of calendar year 2024.