Ansaldo STS could be acquired by a Chinese joint venture of Insigma Group and Xinzhu Corporation, and parent company Finmeccanica has confirmed a bid by Insigma for AnsaldoBreda.
Finmeccanica has long planned to sell the Italian operations to reduce debt levels, and some reports suggest the signalling division could also be included in the sale. If so it would give the Chinese companies a foothold in the growing European signalling market – especially the lucrative mass transit and European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) sectors.
The Reuters news agency is reporting that General Electric is interested in acquiring Ansaldo STS. Finnmeccanica, which owns 40% of the company, has been seeking to sell its share for some time to reduce debt.
Ansaldo STS has won some high-profile business recently, including signalling contracts in Algeria and a share of the $US 680 million contract to build a metro network in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. However, the company has also been dogged by quality issues, most notably the V250 Fyra high-speed trains ordered for service between Belgium and the Netherlands.
The acquisition would provide GE with its own in-house ERTMS solution, and access to a range of signalling sectors that it does not currently operate in. Ansaldo STS, meanwhile, would surely only gain from being part of a company of GE’s scale.
Will a deal be good for the signalling sector? Let us know what you think…