"The purchase of AnsaldoBreda is straightforward because it is fully owned by Finmeccanica, but acquiring Ansaldo STS is complicated because it is listed on the stock exchange and Finmeccanica only owns 40% of the shares," says Mr Keith Jordan with Hitachi Rail Europe. "We have filed anti-trust papers where both companies have a presence in Europe and China and we are waiting for responses. The target is October to obtain approval to acquire Finmeccanica's 40% share in Ansaldo and to buy AnsaldoBreda at the same time." Hitachi would then make an offer for the remaining shares in Ansaldo STS.

"We have had discussions at the CEO and senior management levels with AnsaldoBreda, and we have been talking at board level with Ansaldo STS, but we have only had access to senior management at Ansaldo STS in the last couple of days," Jordan says. This is because of the stock exchange restrictions on access to listed companies by companies seeking to acquire them.

The acquisition of Ansaldo STS is crucial as Hitachi will not proceed with the deal to take over AnsaldoBreda if fails to acquire Ansaldo STS.

Jordan says the overall deal is part of Hitachi's expansion plans and will give Hitachi a much a broader range of products, particularly in signalling, and a wider geographical spread as Ansaldo STS is present in 26 countries worldwide.

Hitachi is discussing with AnsaldoBreda and Bombardier about whether to continue their partnership for the manufacture of high-speed trains once the current contract to supply the new Frecciarossa 1000 fleet to Trenitalia has been completed. Liability for AnsaldoBreda's troubled contracts for Danish DMUs and Fyra high-speed trains will remain with Finmeccanica.